The Scholarship Essay

Mila, Suzy & Missy - June 1998I found this essay today while doing a little file maintenance. I wrote it back in 2001 when I  was applying for scholarships for my senior year of college. Although I’ve written about Missy on here in the past, I thought this really captured how I was feeling and wanted to share…


Most people think it’s odd that I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was thirteen. However, it was merely the art of imitation that led me in this direction. As a little girl, there was one person who I especially looked up to and admired. I wanted to be just like my cousin Missy. Even though she was ten years older than I, she never treated me like a little kid. When I was young, Missy seemed perfect to me. She took me to movies, amusement parks, and was just always there for me. As I got older, she was more of a sister than a cousin. She became a roll model and a mentor for me.

Missy attended Sacramento State, and about the same time that I was deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up, she was finishing college. She graduated with a degree in Accounting, and she opened my eyes to this field of study. I began to take classes in accounting, and I really enjoyed it. I realized this was the direction I wanted to take with my education and my life.

I began my college career at a Community College in my hometown. During my time at this college, my short-term goal was to transfer to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Once I accomplished this goal, I began setting new goals for myself. These smaller goals are the stepping-stones that will lead me to my main goal of becoming a CPA at one of the “Big Five” accounting firms. One of these “stepping-stone” goals was to be involved at school. Becoming a member of Alpha Kappa Psi became a priority for me. Pledging was not an easy task, but it was an excellent learning experience that helped me discover who I am. It taught me leadership, teamwork, and most importantly, it showed me how to handle stressful situations. These are skills that I value and that will help me in life.

Though I have dealt with difficult and stressful situations before, it was just recently that I faced the biggest challenge of my life. A few weeks ago, my cousin, Missy, passed away suddenly. Seemingly healthy, and only thirty years old, she suffered from a condition known as “Long QT Syndrome”. This disease frequently has no symptoms, and can lay dormant for years. Upon learning the news that she was in the hospital, I got in my car and drove to Stockton at 2:30am to be with her. She was in a coma for four days before it was assessed that she had no chance of recovery. The doctors felt it would be best to take her off the life support machines. I’d been filled with hope that she would recover, and even though I stood next to her bed as she drew her last breath, I still somehow believed that she would wake up.

When someone dies, the timing is never good. In my case, it couldn’t have been worse. I had interviews for summer internships set up with “Big Five” companies that week, and I knew that this was a big opportunity. Although it was hard, I knew that I couldn’t miss my chance to move one step closer to my long-term goal. It was the longest week I’ve ever been through, but I made it, and did it successfully as well. I was offered a position at one of the firms, and I am going back for second interviews with two other firms.

Through hardship, a person builds character and strength. This was a difficult experience for me, and it will take time to heal, but it also taught me an important lesson. I realized that to reach your goals, sometimes you have to overcome your personal hardships and do what’s necessary to continue on. Missy and I had talked about my interviews in the weeks before she died, and she had given me encouragement and support. She was glad that I had such a wonderful opportunity, and I know that she would not have wanted me to miss it. In my life, I often set high standards for myself, but I have the determination and drive to push me toward those goals. As time passes, I believe this experience will help to strengthen me and make me a better person. I’ve felt Missy’s influence on me all my life, and even though she’s gone, that influence will still be there.


1 Response to “The Scholarship Essay”

  1. 1 ben January 13, 2009 at 10:58 PM

    I think she would be proud of you today. I never got the chance to meet Missy, and I really wish we could have hung out. I’m sure we would have been kindred spirits.

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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