Direct Textbook is proud to announce the winner of the 2018 Scholarship Essay Contest. At Direct Textbook, we are proud to support students seeking aid for their college experience.
Meet the winner of the 2018 Scholarship Essay Contest, Danielle G!
Danielle currently attends MIT, studying Materials Science and Engineering. Her current interests include biomaterials and sustainability, but she is always open to exploring new and interesting fields of study within material science. In her free time, she enjoys singing, comedy, and learning languages (including French, American Sign Language and Mandarin). She plans to continue to graduate school after MIT to gain her Ph.D., with which she would pursue a position as an engineering professor and run her own research lab.
Danielle would like to "thank Direct Textbook for the opportunity to write creatively and think outside the box."
Here is Danielle's winning essay addressing the questions: "What is required to live self responsibly? What skills are you acquiring that will help you live self responsibly?"
"I'm thinking about alarm clocks I've had throughout my life. In elementary school, my dad would knock on my door each morning, tapping out a rhythm to pull me from my sleep. Middle school alarms played my favorite Disney songs; my high school alarm was a robotic ring. Now, my phone holds around 10 alarms, from wake-up calls to reminders to feed my cat.
I mention this not because I'm some alarm clock aficionado, but because these segments of my life represent significant elevations in my levels of responsibility. To my chagrin, a relevant part of that responsibility is getting out of bed. I think there are three key tenets of self-responsibility, all of which are relevant to simply waking up in the morning.
First, time. Rarely do I get out of bed immediately after my alarm. Instead, I lie awake for 15 minutes to give my mind the necessary time to reboot. Like fully waking up, self-responsibility takes time to develop and retain. We don't expect it from children because they haven't had time to develop it. I feel a sense of self-responsibility because my entire upbringing has been a process of gaining independence. Not only does moving through the stages of life impart maturity and competency, but I was raised to value self-sufficiency and active decision making.
Second, accountability. If I don't get up on time (as I often don't), there are consequences. Maybe I won't eat breakfast or I'll forget an umbrella. Those results are somewhat inconsequential. Alternatively, I could leave my wallet or arrive late to a meeting. Impacts that were once limited to me now concern the friend I'll borrow lunch money from and the productivity of my peers. Self-responsibility is the understanding that I don't live in a bubble. Each decision I make can impact others. Self-responsibility requires me to have respect for those around me and a recognition of my role in their lives.
Third, autonomy. I set my own alarms. (Maybe I shouldn't - I'm notoriously bad at judging how much time I need to get ready.) I want to get up each morning. I know that my day holds endless potential to learn, laugh, and grow. I feel responsible for myself because I have a deep appreciation for myself and the positive change I know I can effect. I have been privileged enough lead a life where I am free to make my own decisions and mold my life as I desire. If that weren't the case, how could I feel any real responsibility over myself? I imagine it would be similar to waking up in a hotel bed. No reason to make the bed after I get up - it's not really mine.
Self-responsibility is difficult. We are all on a continuous journey of gaining and managing our responsibilities. It's an individual process that each person must push them self to discover. Each day is a new opportunity to accept that challenge - you just have to rise and shine."
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