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Throughout my short lifetime of difficulties and discouragements, education has been the one constant and one motivation that helped me stay positive. When my life seemed to be falling apart, I knew I could get on the bus, go to school, and enter a classroom I never wanted to leave. Whenever I was having a bad day, I redirected my energy and passion into learning.
My teachers have played a special part in creating this safehaven for me. They’ve pushed me to grow in unimaginable ways, from reading dozens of chapter books in third grade to writing seven-page research papers on hipster culture and the struggle for identity in modern society. Each of my teachers has encouraged me to channel the intensity of my struggles into my learning, which has allowed me to achieve successes larger than I thought I was capable of.
Because of their influence, something in me changed. I found myself taking on a more active role in my education — in and out of the classroom. I remember watching How It’s Made in my freetime, the hours I spent constructing papers and projects for pure self-gratification, and the hundreds of emails I’ve sent to my teachers, asking questions and relating my finds to class discussions. I loved taking my education outside the classroom, and I still love it. Most of my life is based on academia because I truly believe an education and studying something you’re passionate about can get you where you want in life.
Sometimes, a person forces their wants and desires on other people. This can take the form of mothers putting their five-year- old daughters on Toddler’s and Tiaras or ex-druggie dads keeping their kids in check so they don’t make the same mistakes they did. But I’m a little different.
A teacher once referred to me as “very demanding.” This startled me initially, but then he continued: “Lizzie is demanding of her classmates. She expects them to come prepared and ready to learn. She is demanding of herself and of her teachers. She really is a student who inspires me to bring my best everyday to the classroom because that’s what she does.”
There’s no better way to describe what I will bring to the Honors College community than this quote. I can’t imagine my life without school and without encouraging myself and others to succeed. It has pushed me throughout life, and I wouldn’t be who I am without my education or the inspiration behind it: my teachers. In this community, I will motivate my peers to push themselves beyond the concept of ‘A’s’ and ‘B’s’. I will challenge them and remind them to never lose the drive that got them there in the first place. I expect my peers to do the same for me, because learning is not something a person can do alone. It requires input and collaboration from others. The Honors College will give me that, and I know I can give it back.
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