COLLEGE: Ohio State University
They say that everything you need to know in life you learn in kindergarten. You learn to play fair and share, to follow directions and clean up your own mess. The most important thing I’ve learned in my 18 years was not in my AP or honors classes, but 12 years ago in that kindergarten class. I’ve long since forgotten the names of my classmates, the toys we played with and the stories we read, but one memory stands out that I can look back on and pinpoint as the event that led me to where I am today.
I will never forget learning to read. It opened new worlds to me. When I read, it was like I had left reality and journeyed somewhere where magic was real and animals could talk. I read as many books as I could get my hands on, and spent as much time as I could reading. On the bus, on the playground, I was rarely seen without my nose in a book.
It was during this process of learning to read that I learned my most important life lesson. We had these weekly short stories, with titles like Cat and the Mat or Gus the Bug; you know, those books with a total of 10 pages of pictures and about four words per page. Each week we got a new one, and for homework we were to read it out loud to our parents. On Fridays we read them out loud to our teacher, Mrs. Springer. If we did well, we got stamps on our arms. For some reason, I wanted nothing more than to impress my teacher and earn those beautiful purple “super!” stamps. I remember it was the first book, about a cat and his mat. I practiced that story every night, not letting my mom sign the sheet saying I had completed the required reading until I had read it to her perfectly. I practiced in the morning on the bus ride to school and then again on the bus ride home. By the time Friday came, I was so nervous that I had butterflies in my stomach.
But my hard work paid off. I read it without a single mistake, and got those coveted stamps I’d had my eyes on. I had never been so proud of myself, and I loved the feeling of working tirelessly for something and the feeling of accomplishment after its completion. While I no longer work for those pretty purple stamps, I learned an important lesson about hard work and setting goals. Since kindergarten, I have repeatedly set goals for myself, including graduating at the top of my class and going to the Ohio State University on a full scholarship. Though these goals have taken four years of hard work rather than one week, just like those purple stamps, I didn’t stop until I achieved those, too.