Prompt 1: Describe the world you come from- for example, your family, community, or school- and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
The most important factors that shaped my dreams and aspirations were my surroundings and my support system. In particular, my community, my family, and sports. These factors laid the foundation for my life and shaped the person I have become. Even though these conditions would change.
I was born and raised in Leggett, California, a small town of about 300 people in northern California. Leggett is a tight-knit community where nearly everyone knows one another. To visit a friend all I have to do is hop on my bike and ride about 3 minutes to their house. In Leggett everyone seems to be part of one large extended family.
Another factor that has contributed to my goals and aspirations is my family. In school and in sports they are always there to help and support me. In addition, my family members have also been strong positive role models helping to shape me as a person. For example, my cousin was a standout player on the basketball team when he was in high school and is one of the best to ever play in Leggett. Following high school, he completed a four-year degree and went on to get a masters degree in Isotope Geochemistry. While I don't want to be a geologist, I intend to take the same work ethic that allowed him to succeed and pursue a career in science.
Sports, especially basketball, have always been my passion and have also contributed significantly to my development as a person and a student. I am a point guard, the player who directs and controls the offense. I love being in control of the game and being in a position of leadership that allows me to play a major role in determining the outcome of the game. My love for sports probably stems from my parents, who have both played and coached sports since they were in high school. They gave me the coaching and the opportunities to improve my game anytime I wanted. They would even take me to the gym in the middle of night to help me shoot or to do drills. They also pushed me to be the best, both on and off the court, further developing the work ethic and motivation needed to succeed.
One disadvantage of growing up in the small-secluded town of Leggett was that it made me shy. Around large groups of people I would slump back, try to blend in, and stay away from the bulk of the crowd. My shyness needed to be fixed before making my way to a large University after High School. The solution to my shyness problem was found in a terrible situation.
In my 10th grade year nearly all of my close friends transferred out of Leggett Valley High School to nearby Laytonville High School. They did this because their parents thought a teacher was treating them unfairly as a result of the parents' altercation with the teacher's son. After my friends switched schools we weren't going to have enough players for a basketball team my 11th grade year. So I had to choose to either stay in Leggett and not play basketball or transfer and play for Laytonville, a rival school. I chose the latter.
Laytonville is a town of over 1,000 people and has a much bigger school where people didn't know who I was. This caused me to meet new people and to conquer my shyness. I was able to branch out and make new friends as well as retain the friendships I had with those who had transferred before me and those who remained in Leggett. Now when in large crowds I don't try to stay away from people, I talk to them and allow them to get to know me.
The small community of Leggett allowed me to grow up with close friends and develop a strong sense of community. My family gives me the support I need to do well in sports and school and provides strong positive role models to which I strive to equal. Sports helped me develop a strong work ethic and leadership skills. Changes in my environment ended my natural shyness from other people. These aspects of my life shaped my dreams and aspirations by motivating and showing me what humans can do if they put their mind to it.
Prompt 2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
There are many accomplishments that are important to me and that I am proud of, but one experience stands out most to me. This particular experience occurred during a basketball game and serves as an example of the kind of person I am. High-pressure situations tend to be defining moments, tests in how we react, that are revealing of our character.
It was my basketball team's last home game of the year against Potter Valley High School, a team who we beat by only four points at Potter Valley two months earlier. The game was close with only seven seconds left in the fourth and final quarter. We were up by two points with only two players left on the court because our three other players had all fouled out of the game. They quickly brought the ball down the court and set up for a final shot. One of their player's caught the ball and shot. As the ball started through the air I jumped and swatted it away as the buzzer sounded and the game was over. Not only had we won the game, we had won the game with only two players on the court.
This game taught me an important lesson about never giving up. We had only two players left in the game and they had five, but we kept playing. We defied the odds and held on to the lead with only two players. There was so much pressure on us at that moment and it motivated me to succeed. It was one of the best possible ways that I could end my basketball career in Leggett.
This experience is important to me and it shows what kind of person I am. I am the type of person who wants to succeed. I don't fold in high stress situations, in fact, the more pressure put on me the better I perform. It doesn't matter if it is in school or in a basketball game, I don't give in or give up.