I paid for my college education by winning academic scholarships in high school. Sick or not, success in school was always a huge priority for me. Posted is an essay that I wrote for one of the scholarships I applied for:
Since my eighth grade year of school, my education has been affected in such a way that I have been challenged to overcome various obstacles in order to acquire the good education that I strive for and value. I have had to achieve my academic goals in circumstances not common for the average student.
After being diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia in July 1997 at the age of thirteen, I was forced to complete my eighth grade school year at home, while undergoing rounds of chemotherapy at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital. Rather than letting leukemia negatively affect my education, I chose to continue to work hard and challenge myself. I did not take my tutor’s suggestion that I take Pre-Algebra along with the majority of my classmates at school. Instead, I was determined to start Algebra as I had planned before my diagnosis, since I had passed the entrance exam.
After reuniting with my peers as a freshman in high school and going on to my sophomore year, I relapsed. Once again I went into combat against cancer, missing the last four months of my tenth grade year to receive a bone marrow transplant. After returning to school as a junior, my leukemia returned a second time and I missed the last three months of school to undergo further treatment. Currently as a senior, I am preparing for a second bone marrow transplant due to a third relapse. Determined to keep up with my schoolwork, each time I became ill I worked with numerous teachers to complete the school years’ requirements on time and earn the same high grades I would have received had I been in actual school. I also participated as much as possible, playing varsity soccer my freshman year and junior varsity basketball my first two years. My junior and senior years I enjoyed working as editor of the school newspaper. I served as a National Honor Society executive board member for two of the three years I was in the organization.
Throughout all my years of being afflicted with leukemia, I have been placed in situations where I have the choice to either sink to the bottom or rise to conquer. Realizing the gift of each day, I have a newfound passion to live my days to their full potential and always have aspirations: I hope to receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. I would like to someday be an ambitious career woman and use my skills to be a leader at a successful company. I have already been challenged by one big “C.” I cannot wait to be challenged by the next one – College.