Don't Back Down

January 12, 2009
By Nick Corlett, Pewaukee, WI

Don’t Back Down

“I’m still gunna have recess, right?” Of all things, recess was the only concern I had about skipping a grade. I didn’t consider the challenges of being a year younger than the rest of my class. Then again, what six-year-old does? Recess would not be the only problem in my career. I encountered others, like learning how to count money.

New room. New kids. New teacher… old feeling. It was that feeling where you think your stomach is upside down. The teacher introduced me to the class, but the less-than-interested looks on their faces said it all. This would become a time for me to show my perseverance. I jumped into the lesson: counting money. The teacher expected me to know what I was doing. No such luck. I had only played with my parent’s money, not counted it. When the teacher noticed me struggling, she asked if I felt comfortable skipping a grade.
“Yeah, I’ll get it,” I said.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. My answers were off by a baseball player’s salary. Getting the questions wrong was like being three cents short of buying a hamburger at McDonalds. However, I was about to win the lottery.

By middle school, counting money was no longer an issue, and making the honor roll was just as easy. With school comes friends, and with friends come sports and activities that you do together. Soccer was our sport. There was a red card on the play though: the teams go by age, not grade. But the age difference didn’t stop me from trying out with the older kids.
50 boys trying out for a spot on an 18 person squad means bad news for a lot of kids. The size and talent of some of the other kids made me want to tryout with the younger group. But giving up wasn’t an option. I ran past defenders, scored goals, and did everything else right to earn a spot on the team. We developed as a team, dominating our conference every year and traveling around the state to win tournaments.
College will follow this path, and pose more challenges for me. I thrive off of everyday challenges; if everything were easy, than there wouldn’t be any pride or feeling good about yourself in the end. My willingness to take on challenges will result in solving any problems in your university and community, making them both better places to live. In my mind, applying for college is more like applying for more challenges. And I’d love to take on the challenges your school has to offer.

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