“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” -John Lennon I aspire to be happy. As a child, I was taught that money, status and accolades were the only means to happiness. I began to notice that my "support" system waxed and waned with each new failure or success. Soon I was addicted to the opinions of others. Uneasily, I took a step back from my life and in that moment I realized I was not growing. As I forced myself to walk a career path chosen purely for prestige and the approval of others, my passion to learn and grow faded. Several years later, after a change in major and a bachelors degree under my belt, I set out to find happiness. I believed I had grown enough, and there was little else to learn. Life quickly disillusioned me and I found myself in a place I promised myself I would never be, a corner. Eight months of networking resulted in scarce, menial work. Life savings spent and a maxed credit line due to living expenses somehow led to a chance for me to bloom. I swallowed my pride to ask anyone I had ever known if they knew of steady work. A Facebook friend helped me land a job at a credit union. The comfort of a stable income dissuaded my growth for a time, but I started to dream again. Dreams turned into plans and these plans had me set to return to school to fulfill requirements needed to become a social worker. Since I had taken a few chemistry courses, I decided to fill my schedule with classes to ignite my interest, and set me apart from other applicants that majored in the social sciences. Soon the only classes on my schedule favored a degree in chemistry. A year and a half later, on the precipice of graduation, I am astonished at the transformation from the stepped-on dandelion to the ever growing white oak tree I have become. Combine these lessons with the unconditional love and support of a newly grown support system and there is nothing I cannot grow to achieve. Hopefully, this instinctual need to grow will pay off with success and a content lifestyle with my own research lab. Even if life takes me elsewhere, I know my ability to outgrow any obstacle is infinite.