Personal Essay (250-650 words): Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Colleges I'm Applying To:
The first draft of my essay was simply a basic outline of everything I wanted to say in the 650 words I was given. The list went something like this: "Tourette's- OCD, Anxiety, etc..." It was really hard for me at first to write something so personal that I knew would be given to my classmates to edit. I received feedback from my mom and our family friend who was helping me write my essay. They both challenged me to make it as personal as possible, which is something I have never done before in my writing. Once I started writing however, everything just flowed onto the paper as easily as if I was simply reading my essay and not writing it. During the revision Process my writing changed from the list to this: "My anxiety and OCD had peaked and I was in a horrible state of mind for a few months. I couldn't concentrate in class and I was struggling to find a medication to help alleviate my symptoms" I expanded my ideas and added more details. Overall, this essay helped me learn to make my writing personal and meaningful.
When I was two years old, I fell in love with the stars. While other girls were playing with Barbies, I was stargazing out of my bedroom window with my small plastic 'National Geographic' telescope. My heart was set on being a NASA astronaut and flying up to the stars that I loved so much. But my plans for the future were suddenly detoured when I was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome at the age of twelve.
In third grade I started developing facial tics. I was both confused and embarrassed, I didn't know what was happening to me. As I got older, my tics got worse. They had evolved from simple facial tics to violent head shaking and full body convulsions. There were days when they were so bad that I had to stay home from school, too tired from the muscle relaxers that I was taking to do anything other than sleep.
When middle school came around, I was more nervous than I had ever been. I was going to a school in a different district. No matter how painfully hard I had tried to hide them, the kids in my classes had started to notice my tics. They called me names like 'twitch', they mimicked my tics in front of me, and openly laughed and pointed at me. It became such a problem that I often pretended to be sick to avoid going to school. In seventh grade I had to be home schooled. In eighth grade I was enrolled in the local charter middle school. Despite my fears and reservations, I gave my classmates a presentation about Tourette's syndrome. I wanted people to know and understand what my condition was, and I would not let myself hide it any longer. Eighth grade was an amazing experience for me,boosting my confidence and self esteem exponentially.
High school has been one of the most important and rewarding times of my life, freshman year especially. I had begun to accept my sexuality and I was really able to start loving myself in a way I never had before. I also decided to change career paths and become an aerospace engineer, something that would allow me to combine my love of building things with my love of space. Sophomore year was more challenging however. My anxiety and OCD had peaked and I was in a horrible state of mind for a few months. I couldn't concentrate in class and I was struggling to find a medication to help alleviate my symptoms. Luckily I was soon put on a medication that diminished my anxiety and OCD. I worked as hard as I could to get my grades back up to A's, and I succeeded. Junior year was a very significant year for me personally. I came out as gay to my family and friends, which was one of the scariest things that I have ever done. I started attending meetings at the Rainbow Youth Center and my self confidence and self esteem have reached an all time high.
I refuse to let others define my identity because I have Tourette's or because of my sexuality. My opportunities are boundless. The sky isn't the limit for me, because one day I know I will be among the stars. If the little girl sitting in her room with her plastic telescope could see me now, I think she would be amazed at my resilience and my spirit.