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I am a seventeen year old mother. Every single day after completing seven hours of rigorous Advanced Placement classes, I am ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a boy who desperately needs my help in order to grow up. I meet him at the bus stop, take his hand as he descends the steps, re-teach him every day how to open the front door, snack, television, nap. This daily routine is on repeat, never to be interrupted. Time is critical to Ian and one activity starting an instant too late could disrupt his circadian rhythm. Ian lives with a disability. He is twenty years old yet has the mind-set of a ten-year-old. Although I am not his biological mother, I help raise him day by day and, in many ways, he helps raise me.
I have been impatient, I have been judgmental, I have underestimated people, I have wasted days, hours, minutes.
Patience is constantly coaching someone how to do the same thing over and over again, such as opening the front door, without frustration. Patience is sitting by the bedside every day at 3:32 p.m. waiting for someone to fall asleep because they cannot rest without you being right next to them. Patience is the propensity to help, no matter what. Every single day my patience is tested. Every single day I ace that test.
Ian is a boy who is “too short for his age,” who takes “too long to speak coherent sentences,” who rocks back and forth when he gets excited, who can’t go to the bathroom without assistance, and yet I believe that he loves his life. I have learned that judgment is nothing but that: Judgment.
The average lifespan is 39,420,000 minutes. Ian has had plenty of time to wallow in self pity over the things that he can not and will not accomplish, yet I have not once seen him do so. As I interact with him each day, I realize how important every minute is. Just as time is critical to Ian, time is critical to me.
I am no longer impatient, I am no longer judgmental, I no longer underestimate, and I will never again waste a single day, hour, or minute.
As a future Gator these qualities will be amplified. They make up my genetic code and I would not be where I am, or who I am, without them. I will do everything in my power to care for other students when they need me and share wisdom I have gleaned with each person. I jump to teach, I run to help, I stand to lead.
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