Every year, we ask our returning scholarship recipients to answer an essay prompt as part of the hoops they have to jump through in order to get a scholarship the following. Small hoops, and we help them through – and good hoops, because they make you think. Here’s the essay prompt:
Everybody has long-term plans and aspirations, and to reach them they strive towards intermediate goals. Thinking about your own long-term aspirations, name one goal you have for the next school year. Describe this goal, why it is important to your future, and the steps you will take to achieve it. Be realistic and specific; next December we will return your essay and ask you to rate your progress towards the goal you have chosen.
Courtney is finishing her first year at the University of Massachusetts, and her essay epitomizes the awesomeness of our students and why it is so important that we help them through college. It’s because, well, they’re WORTH it. Here is her essay, complete and unedited.
Although the prompt given to me was to write an essay about one goal I have for the next school year, I would like to take some time to reflect back on this school year, although it is not yet quite done- but almost!
August 30th was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my short life of 19 years. I was moving into college. Not only was I moving physical objects into my dorm room that day, but also emotional and mental “objects” as well. A million thoughts ran through my head… What will college be like? (Amazing!) Will I make friends? (Yes, a few close ones!) Will I have to write a lot of essays? (In some classes…) How hard will the tests be? (Let’s not talk about that…). I was ecstatic to be starting this new phase of my life, my “grown up” life, but at the same time, it depressed me. It depressed me to be there without my dad, who was the most influential person in my life. However, I knew he and my mom were both with me, and continue to be with me in my heart and watch over me. As my first semester of college progressed, I became less of the scared “fresh meat” freshmen you see all the time on TV and in movies. I joined clubs associated with my major, such as the Belted Galloway group, which is a group dedicated to the care and management of the beef cattle herd my school has. Within the groups I joined, I made numerous friends with people from all years and backgrounds. I had the opportunity to compete with my school at an animal-science and agriculture related competition and even got fourth place in livestock judging, out of 200 people! I was sooo surprised! Final exam week came and went, not without extremely levels of stress and approximately $20 spent on chocolate alone. The numerous hours of studying certainly worth it when I looked at my first semester transcript and saw I had achieved a 3.7 GPA! As I continue to progress through my first year of college, I can honestly say that college has changed me. I am more independent now. I am able to wake myself up at 5 o’clock in the morning to feed dairy calves. I am able to sit down for 5 hours at a time to ponder over answers to calculus homework. I am able to balance my time between having fun with friends and finishing essays, such as this one! I am curious to see how college will affect me as I progress through the next 7 years… yes, 7 years. I’m going to be a vet after all!
Now back to the actual prompt! As stated above, this was my first year of college and I absolutely loved it! My long-term goal is to become a mixed practice veterinarian, meaning I work with both small animals, such as dogs and cats, and larger animals, such as cows and horses. As taught in school so many times, in order to achieve a long-term goal, you need short-term goals. My short term goal for my first semester of college was to get into the Commonwealth Honors College. I can put a check mark next to that! For my second semester of college, which I currently am completing, my goal is to achieve an A in chemistry. I set this goal for myself because I had a very small introduction to chemistry in high school. Although I know this is a big goal go achieve, I continue to work towards it by going to all the extra help sessions offered, studying with friends, and doing countless hours of online homework and reading. I will get that A!
Now you may ask, what is your goal for your next year of college? As a member of the Commonwealth Honors College, I am required to take a certain number of honors-level courses, including some within my major. Because I am newly inducted, I was not able to take any of said required courses last year. In my fall semester, I will be taking 2 courses as honors, Animal Welfare and also a Nutrition class. My goal is to get A’s in both classes. The workload is harder than “normal” classes, whose workloads are already very hard! Also in my spring semester, I will be taking Animal Nutrition as an honors course. Although this does not seem very hard, it is a junior level course. I am extremely interested in animal nutrition, so it will be helpful both when I am applying to veterinary school and when I actually become a vet. This short-term goal is important to my future because not only is it classes I need to take in order to graduate, those 3 classes will further my knowledge of information both in the veterinary medicine field and nutrition fields.
The steps I will take to achieve this goal are:
Get extra help! I learned this semester that it is not a bad thing to ask for help, whether it is going to the professor’s office hours, the extra help sessions, or even ask a friend!
Pay attention in class! Although I do this now, I do tend to sometimes not pay attention at all times. Hey, who does?!
Go on Facebook less! Although social networking is a great way to stay in touch with people it would be hard to talk to on a normal basis, it can be quite distracting, especially when you are supposed to studying for finals! Maybe a temporary password change by my mom may be in order…
Although it may seem like that goal is all related to classes, I also have another short-term goal which will help me achieve my long-term goal of getting into veterinary school, and this is to join a non-animal science related group or club. Veterinary schools like to see well-rounded students. I also like to experience things I normally wouldn’t as an animal-science major, such as writing for the school newspaper or building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
When December rolls around, I hope to be able to say I achieved my short-term goals, and if not, I will come up with some more. Coming up with short-term goals can do nothing but help your journey to achieving your long-term goal. Baby steps are key!
Courtney, as they say – you rock.