The winner of the 2017 Directtextbook.com Scholarship Essay Contest is Jose Angel Aguila! Thank you to all of those who participated this year.

Meet the winner of the 2017 Directtextbook.com Scholarship Essay Contest.

Jose is a film maker at Loyola Marymount University focusing on Screenwriting and Cinematography. He’s also a staff photographer for the Loyolan, the on-campus newspaper, and is a member of several Latino clubs on campus.

On his plans for the future, Jose says, “I hope to work as a director, writer, and cinematographer on films that focus on People of Color and minorities because we are under-represented in film and representation can go a long way. I want to create stories that speak to the masses and can change the perspectives of those with damaging beliefs.”

Aside from film, Jose also has a passion for music. Self-taught, he has learned how to play the guitar and piano through YouTube videos and books. Soccer has been a part of his life ever since he was young and he still plays today. Reading has been one of his methods of exploration and even relaxation. Jose has a great goal of reading two books a month, which can be challenging given his busy schedule.

Here is Jose’s winning essay addressing the question: "What is a principle? How are principles important to your life?"

“I felt stuck. I lacked will, energy, determination. Life was just a repetitive cycle. I was a hopeless boy missing his soul.
Until one day during one of my shifts at the espresso bar I worked in, an older woman commented on how tired I appeared. I simply shrugged, raised my eyebrows and said, “Yeah.”
“You’re too young, much too young,” she insisted.
“Too young to be tired?” I asked.
“No, too young to be depressed. You need change. You need to jump. What you need is to fail and work your way up again.”
I stood there astonished. I put down her coffee with room on the counter and slid it into her hands. She picked it up and took a sip, “You’ll thank me later.”
She gave me a wink and carried on with her day.
Her words rattled on in my mind as the left and right sides of my brain argued about what should be the next steps in my life.
It didn’t take long for me to conclude that I had to move away from home, no matter the difficulties and obstacles I was to encounter. A year later and I am preparing to begin my first year at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television. Looking back now, I realize that the older woman was handing over her life principles to me. Her principles of staying out of one’s comfort zone and taking risks pushed me and helped me discover principles of my own to live my life by.
A principle is nothing more than a truth or an idea to live by. But, like everything else in our world, principles don’t matter until they’re given meaning. One must live that principle not just speak of it. Principles can add clarity during dire situations, they can uplift in moments of suffering, and can help discover new characteristics and attributes in people that they might have never known they harnessed.
Principles are acquired and confirmed with the help of experience and accumulated knowledge, they are rule sets based on our own ethics, morals, science and common sense. We use principles to act. They can be as simple as “love yourself” to “never drink more than two cups of coffee a day.” Principles build the person you are or want to become.
In my life, principles have defined all my thoughts and actions. Through experience, I’ve acquired principles that help assure I won’t fall into the same hole again or make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s important to find the principles that not only change one’s perspective on life but, ensure one learns and obtains skills that aid in work and life.”


Direct Textbook offers a variety of scholarship opportunities including a haiku and photo essay contest. To learn about future DirectTextbook.com scholarship contests, click here.

    Sep 28, 2017    Comments     (3)   Share: Share This Page Share on Facebook Tweet This Share on Google Plus


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