“I write so that others might be inspired.”

Tonight, I came home from spending the weekend celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday in our college town to my mom and brother filling out scholarship applications. My brother is a senior in high school this year, and he’s signed to play baseball next year at a university that also just so happens to be THE school for wood technology. God gave my brother a gift for wood working the way He gave me a gift for writing, so you can imagine that writing scholarship essays isn’t as natural for my brother as it was for me.

The big sister and teacher in me decided to pull out my flash drive with all of my old documents from high school to find some encouragement for my brother, and I found this scholarship essay (below in bold), which I’m just going to leave here. God is cool. I don’t remember the prompt for this essay, but after reading my response I know that I used an assignment I had in my College Credit English class senior year and I built upon it myself the way only a future teacher could.

The assignment was to use the letters in your name to write an essay about who you are, and I applied this prompt to the essay with my first and last name as well as three character traits: determination, passion, and optimism. Looking back, I realize “passion” is not a character trait and I should’ve said “being passionate” or chosen something else, but that’s beside the point.

I know I didn’t get said scholarship and I also didn’t pursue the degree program or university I intended to use the money for, but I’ve stayed true to everything I said in this essay and even built upon it. I 100% wrote this essay to be awarded money, but that’s not the way God had it planned and I knew that too. I wrote to myself!

Going into week three of my 19 week challenge, I need the motivation to write, and this old scholarship essay I thought I’d probably never read or find relevant again has inspired me to push forward and use the gift God gave me. Just because your gift doesn’t bear immediate fruit or grab the attention of the world doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use it. I’ll keep writing, and I hope you continue doing whatever it is God made you to do.

A name is a word or words, among other things. I am one of many people operating under the same seven letters followed by a last name. Look closer, can you see? I am rare, and I confess… I am one letter away from being anything more than myself and one letter away from being anything less. I sit, and I rest. I race, and I test. I taste, and I care. I’m just one letter away from life being fair.

Determination, that’s D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N. It’s the drive I have to make my mark on this nation and her friends. I will climb to the top of any figurative or literal tree; I don’t know what it means to give up on my dream. Time is a number in this thing we call life; I’m just looking for a slice to call mine. I’m one letter away from disappointing each peer who pushed me to discover what it means to strive and care. When I look around at the “deer in the headlights” glances, I remind everyone what it is to take life’s chances.

Passion, that’s P-A-S-S-I-O-N. It’s the fire ignited to love something like God loved his only son without an end. My English teachers and my favorite authors showed me what it is to appreciate stories and words – a pleasure so guilty it almost feels like a sin. I don’t ever let a defining moment pass me by; I’m one letter away from finally noticing a sign. Soap will never scrub away the grime that’s a result of my fire. I write so others might be inspired.

Optimism, that’s O-P-T-I-M-I-S-M. It’s the small boat sailing in the storm and it never, ever tips; although it does spin. Traveling north, south, east or west, my boat has surrendered to the journey, unlike most. Those who sit and settle miss out on life’s opportunities. Positivity is contagious, everyone deserves to dream. To all the pessimists who told me that I can’t, I’m only sorry you can’t seem to emerge from the negative mist.

I’m on the rise; I’m beginning to reach my wildest dreams. I carry with me the scars of everything I’ve experienced in between. In the air around me, my determination, passion and optimism are drawing me near. I’m one letter away from finding success and breaking away from my fears. Letters tell wonders, and when strategically placed, they spell out the story of my past high school face. The future is calling, and I’m still changing like the seasons. One lonely letter is missing between me and my life’s reason.


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