“Life sucks.” One of most common phrases heard from people my age. While this is definitely true at times, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. The past two years I have explored this difficult concept and reached, what I hope to be, a mature philosophy. Through my experiences I have concluded that one must go down to go up, yerida l’tzorech aliya.

The first time this classic saying had an impact in my life was during my high school’s senior year trip to Poland and the Czech Republic, where we visited sites of the Holocaust. While in places of complete destruction, feeling the heaviest feelings imaginable, I found my life calling. When I was at my lowest point, I found my highest inspiration.

While tracing the steps of my ancestors, a fate I narrowly escaped by a mere two generations, I realized that I must fight to protect present and future Jews. I must ensure that those who were brutally murdered by Hitler would be the last Jews ever massacred. I felt this surge of empowerment and responsibility to protect my people.

The trip continued to Israel, and as we flew over Tel Aviv’s stunning coastline, I decided that Israel is the place for me to thrive. The way to do that? Eventually move to Israel and advocate on behalf of my people. However I believed I was too young, I would put this dream on pause for after college. So after three amazing months in Israel I reluctantly returned to America.

As my trip ended, and I started college in the States, I felt as if part of me was missing. As the year continued, my recurring mantra of going down to go up popped into my head. What lesson was I supposed to learn? Where was my up from here? And then one day, as I was Facebook stalking pictures from my high school trip to Israel for the thousandth time it hit me.

I needed to be in Israel. I had gone down to go up before, and ended “up” in Israel. I was not too young to fulfill my life dream, this could be achievable at any age. I registered for university in Israel and accelerated my life goal to live in the Holy Land.

Our crazy world works in a way where one must experience a hardship in order to achieve a better state of being. Despite my great love for Israel, I am sure there will be many challenging moments while living here. I will struggle and sometimes fall. However, if I step back and look at where I am, then everything seems like an up moment. I must have faith that the “up” is always worth the “down”.