Describe A Life Changing Event – Scholarship Essay
Six months ago I broke my back, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Until that point I took much of the goodness in my life for granted. You are looking at a
picture of the clamshell brace or lumbosacral support that
I wore while my spine healed. It was made of unrelentingly stiff plastic. Since I had to wear it during summer vacation, it also made me very hot and uncomfortable.
Ten days before my injury I ran the race of my life, and I had no idea. I was in incredible shape and ran my best times in two events without much effort. I compete in the 1500 meters and the 3000 meters, so during the races there is time to reflect somewhat. I decided to take it easy in both races and didn’t push myself. I ran faster than I ever had. Ironically, in the middle of the race I considered the possibility that I was running my last race, and therefore should try harder. I dismissed the idea. If my future had been revealed to me I would have raced as if my life depended on it. I would have tried.
That race haunted me all summer. Now when I tell myself that I could be running my last race, I listen. Life is too precious to waste, and not giving your all at everything you do is wasteful. Every day I try to be the best person I can be.
While I was wearing the brace I wasn’t supposed to run, jump, or swim. The only exercise that was approved by the doctor was taking my dog for walks in the mornings. This meant I spent much less time with my friends. They are more active than my brace allowed me to be. The first few weeks away from track were really hard. It was tough seeing other kids out enjoying themselves and competing. It was difficult not to notice kids out on the track who raced with the same mindset I used to. They obviously didn’t give it everything they had. It made me so mad.
My injury affected my life in ways I couldn’t have predicted. When I first hurt my back I stopped drinking alcohol because I was focused on healing quickly and staying healthy. It didn’t take long before I stopped looking forward to my return to drinking. In fact, I had no urge to drink at all. At first my friends bugged me for not going to parties as I used to, but after a while we didn’t even see each other that much. Now we pass in the halls and we see each other at football games, but it isn’t the same. I can no longer understand the mentality of focusing life around partying, around destroying your body and mind. My body deteriorated during the summer and my work in getting back into shape before track season is going to be monumental. The last thing I need is to make it harder on myself. My rationale for avoiding alcohol extends beyond track. It also became clear to me that living my life to its full potential and being held back by the consequences of drinking are mutually exclusive.
At cross-country practices this year I worked harder than anyone else. Every time I started to feel tired and weak and considered slowing down, I reminded myself that I could be running in my last practice and if I gave up now I would regret it later. As the season progressed I advanced my position within the team, and by then end of the season I was on varsity. During the season I out-raced lots of guys who were my physical superiors. The reason for my increased performance is simple: after a race I can truthfully say that I ran as hard as I could. That is how I want to live my life: honestly, with no regrets.