Stacia Nugent, a graduating senior at BA, received full scholarships to a range of universities. After a college visit to New Hampshire, she decided on Dartmouth, a top Ivy League School. Below is one of the written statements she included in her application, which garnered a personal response to Stacia from the dean of the college. Recently, Stacia was among a group of seniors who visited study hall classes to speak to underclassmen about getting serious about future plans. This may be college, military, technical school or a job. Stacia spoke of being raised by a single mom in a family that faced challenges, but that hard work and focus were her mantras to get to where she’s at today – off to a top school. Her message to other Cobras? You can do it too.
FROM STACIA’S COLLEGE APPLICATION TO DARTMOUTH COLLEGE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Time is one of the few constants we have, but there are those moments in life where it seems to stand still. Sometimes decisions made in these moments define us and we overcome our weaknesses. One example was when I was asked to give a motivational sermon for my church. Prior to this request, I was primarily involved with the youth. Encouraging my peers was no problem, but standing in front of a group of 80% of whom were older and wiser than me was beyond intimidating. What did I have to offer in my 14 years of limited life experiences?
I was gripped with the same fear that festered when I had been asked. The room was quiet. Every cough echoed, and nothing but cold air stirred. The day before, I stood in my room with a blank stare and mouth agape. Stacks of papers with neatly written paragraphs and scratch marks were on the desk in front of me, ready to be rehearsed once again. Streams of thoughts flowed through my head such as “Am I the right person to do this?”. As my insecurities crept in, they came up against the one thing I had always resolved in myself not to do, which was quit. I had committed to the event. I was likely going to be scared, but I was going to follow through. Some may have called it stubbornness, but I called it determination.
As I stood in that cold room where time seemed to stop and all eyes riveted on me, waiting for what I had to say, I could not speak. But I knew this was something I wanted to do. I knew this experience would shape me. So I paused, strengthened my resolve, pushed my neatly written notes to the side, and spoke words that I knew would motivate me as if I was an audience member. Ultimately, I felt much better. My fear began to melt away as I spoke with great enthusiasm and delight. After the sermon, the church was ecstatic and receptive to every word spoken. The youth were motivated to prepare their own messages. The older members of our ministry expressed how my message inspired them in so many ways. The message was such a success that I was asked to speak again the next month, and every month thereafter. This experience gave me a new perspective on the quote, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
This experience pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to go further in every area of my life. In my classes, I am driven to excel and contribute to discussions in a new way. With my peers, I am comfortable with being a leader and thrived in the role, which recently culminated in being named the top student of my senior class. Today, as I anticipate college, I know that there will be difficulties and unexpected challenges, but I am determined to not only persevere but to push myself out of my comfort zone so that I can not only help myself but others around me.
Angelica Gutierrez received a full scholarship to attend William Jewell College’s competitive Oxbridge program in Missouri. She will join a group of selected students who will engage in intensive scholarship & analytical thinking and writing in preparation to complete their junior year at Oxford University, England – one of the word’s oldest and most prestigious higher-learning institutions.
Below is one of the written statements Angelica provided in her application.
Question: Can animals, other than humans, cherish things?
For most of my life, I vehemently loathed animals. To me, they were all mangy, flea-ridden creatures who only pretended to like their owners because they had been classically conditioned to do so. Those that I encountered seemed to sense this attitude and responded in turn: my uncle’s parrot would always try to bite my finger, my friend’s cat would hiss whenever I entered the room, and a dog once chased me into a river while I was riding my bike. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that I have a cat. How can someone who despised all creatures without discrimination adopt a cat? I visited a friend’s house, and upon entering he told me that he had a feline friend at home. He must have seen my face, for he quickly added, “Don’t worry, she’s a shy cat, and you won’t see her much.” Throughout the course of my week-long visit; however, her tiny round face began to peek out of corners. Soon, she confidently came up to me and I began to pet her. How strange! At the end of my stay, I found myself missing her: her stubby legs, and her soft brown fur.
I had been bewitched by a furry enchantress! Her soft purrs, her wet nose, they had all conspired to woo me into affection! Not a week had passed since I had returned when I visited my nearest animal shelter with a sense of finality; it was time to adopt a cat.
I had learned enough about our fickle feline friends to know that one does not adopt a cat; the cat adopts you. When I first walked into the room to see The Archduke Franz Ferdinand, he shredded my shoelaces. I knew he was the only one for me. This fair creature has become my greatest source of happiness. Though humans often see themselves as above other animals, I have found that there is no one as noble as my cat. He puts up with me picking him up to litter his furry face with kisses, or my tears soaking into his fur on my bad days. Whenever I am worried, my cat makes sure to occupy my thoughts by pushing his face into my hands. Franz is my one faithful companion who runs up to me every day and demands pats on his princely forehead. Adopting my cat has been like the adoption of a son; I have grown to be a responsible parent who knows that tough love is sometimes necessary when trying to teach him not to chew on my plants. I am now fully convinced that animals can indeed love, and that it is not only a human characteristic. It is merely a trait that Mother Nature teaches to all her children when she lays upon them the wonders of the universe, and all of this love can be concisely conveyed in the simple purring of a content kitty.