The following is a comment I contributed this morning to Lori Palatnik's Lori Amost Live blog on Aish.com. The theme of her video post was Pivotal Moments.
I was about to start high school. I had been attending a yeshiva elementary school from the very beginning. But I hadn’t developed much of a taste for learning Gemara. One day, I ventured into a local yeshiva beis medrash where men, of various ages, were learning Gemara with chavrusos (study partners). I was somewhat taken aback, as I had not previously had a firsthand look at intense Torah study in action. While looking, I caught notice of someone I knew from the neighborhood; and he saw me too. He made his way over to where I was standing. He pointed to several of the people who were engrossed in learning atop their Gemaras. He told me how they had been maintaining rigorous learning schedules for quite a number of years. Some of them had no other DAY JOBS and simply stuck to learning as a day-long, life-long occupation. But others had jobs and/or professions that they would engage in for the bulk of the day. But when the anticipated hour finally arrived, they would bolt out of their offices, labs, or what have you with fierce determination and head straight for the beis hamedrash in which he and I were presently standing and talking. They would spend the next few hours in uninterrupted, rigorous learning. They did this day-in-and-day-out over a span of quite of few years. And in fact, a number of them had already grown into accomplished talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) and were recognized and sought out as authorities in Talmud and halacha. Listening to him, I was truly overwhelmed. I was overcome with ambition and formed an urge to dedicate myself to serious learning and strive to attain considerable heights in Torah knowledge and understanding. That was the moment when I resolved to pursue my high school studies within the confines of a reputable yeshiva, where I could immerse myself in Gemara learning in a very serious way.