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I sometimes daydream about how my life would have been if I led the carefree life of the average teenager. Then I snap back into reality, realizing that life is never average. There are always obstacles to overcome. My transition into high school, however, was particularly rocky. I clearly remember my first day of school: the alarm ringing, the numbness that overpowered my unwilling legs as I walked through my monotonous morning. At that time, I lacked motivation. I also lacked the slightest inclination to succeed in high school. I had lost my hunger for life.
The summer before my freshman year had been filled with challenges. As a result, I had begun to isolate myself from my friends and question everything that I did. Was anything really worth the effort? In the summer of 2007, my mother began to have flare-ups of her rheumatoid arthritis, and she suffered from painful swelling in her joints. For five years, she had been able to control the disease’s progression by taking medication. That summer, however, my mother found that she was unable to complete even the simplest of tasks, things like turning doorknobs and opening jars. I was forced to run the house and essentially be the mother to my own mother. I was constantly consoling her, telling her that everything would turn out fine even though I had no way of knowing what the future held. That summer also brought the loss of a close friend who died in a car accident. I was devastated. Then one morning in late July, I was signing into the volunteer center at Miami Children’s Hospital when I was told that the four-year-old boy with whom I had been spending time all summer in the oncology ward had just passed away. After so much bad news, I found myself having to grow up fast to deal with it all.
By the time I finally started ninth grade, I was tired of disappointments. My grades displayed my lack of effort and motivation. It wasn’t until the summer after my freshman year that my outlook on life finally changed. That summer, I visited Haiti. Hearing of the poverty in Haiti is much different than experiencing it firsthand. As I walked the dirt roads, I noticed the children without shoes, the unsanitary housing, and the shortage of food. Although the people there faced adversity, they nonetheless managed to do everything with smiles on their faces. Unlike me, they appreciated life even in spite of the hardships they were forced to overcome. As I watched them, I realized how much I had taken life for granted, and so when I returned for my sophomore year, I started working hard again. I had been wrong: some things in life are worth the effort. I am now more motivated than ever to put the maximum possible effort into all of my endeavors. I have chosen to focus on going to college because I desire a meaningful education. I would therefore be honored to receive the opportunity to study at the University of Miami, one of the nation’s most renowned universities. I aspire to nothing more than the chance to prove myself an exemplary student at the “U.” Armed with a Miami education, I will hold all of the tools necessary to overcome any obstacle.
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