rockinvinny 1 / - Oct 16, 2013 #1I've been reading a lot of essays on here, and it seems like most of them are in the form short narratives and stories. Anyway, mine is more of just an informative essay. Please let me know of anything I can change. Schools I am applying to with this essay are Georgia Tech, Purdue, U of Colorado-Boulder, U of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon. I have others schools but they use their own app and I'll upload the essays to them sometime soon. Hoping to get this in before Georgia Tech's Early Acceptance deadline. Thanks!ALSO- Common App is not letting me do paragraph breaks or indentations for some reason. Can someone please tell me if the schools know about this and will not hinder the application for it?!?!?!Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.Our experiences, interactions, and environment all play a significant role in shaping who we are and what eventually becomes of each and everyone of us. For many of us though, a single experience is enough to change our entire worldview and how we approach life and the people in it. Whether it is positive or negative in nature, these singular experiences can be enough to completely redefine how we identify ourselves in our environment.The turning point in this crazy journey that I call "life" occurred when I was the meager age of twelve. The week before I was supposed to participate in a State basketball tournament, I suddenly came down with these shooting pains that ripped through my lower back and into my legs. It was first disregarded as simple muscle spasms by my doctor, so I was told to lay low and had to sit out the State tournament that my team had worked all year to get to. However, it continued to persist until one night I ended up in excruciating pain that paralyzed me of any mobility for several days. After many subsequent doctor visits and X-rays and all that joyous stuff, I was eventually diagnosed with a spinal condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). For the sake of brevity, it is a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that not only affects the joints and bones, but may also inflame many other areas of the body. As a twelve year-old kid, this was absolutely devastating to hear because it meant I would no longer be able to participate in the contact sports that I loved.However, going through the many complications that have arisen from being the bearer of this debilitating disease has taught me two incredibly important and life-changing lessons. The first of these is perseverance. Though AS has caused several extended periods of illness due to flare-ups, I refuse to let it determine who I am and what I am capable of. I am extremely grateful to have a school that works with me, and am able to make up the missed schoolwork when I go back to class after a prolonged period of illness (this is why my transcript appears the way it is). I believe my grades speak for my dedication and I am actually on track to finish all my coursework a few months early. Outside of school, the mental and physical lessons of perseverance I learned have also changed who I am. It is because of this that I know I can do anything I set my mind to, regardless of any physical limitations, and those kinds of lessons simply cannot be taught in some textbook.Perhaps the more important lesson though is learning to cherish those around me. You never know just what might happen to you or someone else, and it is important to cherish and love every single person in your life. It is because of this that I have dedicated my life to service, and adding as much value as I can to other people's lives. Mahatma Gandhi once said "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." This has proven to be especially true in my own life, and I plan to pursue this maxim in my career as an aspiring civil engineer. Weaving my love of creating things and solving complex problems that directly impact people with my dedication to serving others shall bring purpose to my work and everything else that I may pursue in the future.Everyone faces struggles, but these struggles must not define us. Instead, we must persevere through them, because in every obstacle there is an important lesson to be learned. Life is beautiful, and each and every circumstance and experience helps us to find purpose in our lives, and molds us into the person we become.