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2015 submissions from the top ten finalists

Essay Five

Values are those things that I believe are important in the way we live and how it translates into relationships, school and eventually a life career. Values define who we are, However, I believe, values change throughout one’s life; with life experiences comes age and wisdom. In turn, our values can be reshaped or it’s those values that come into focus to make you stronger.

I am an individual who works hard. I have worked hard to achieve my successes both academically and as a person. My grades are a reflection of my hard work. In addition obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout required much hard work and dedication for me, my family and my troop. Sometimes it is easier to be lazy. Hard work requires dedication and commitment to something. Commitment is another value I possess. I am committed to my family, my teammates on the tennis team and to those responsibilities that I take on.

Empathy is a big part of who I am. Empathy, compassion and understanding describe how I feel about people and their situations. It is empathy that created a major obstacle in my life. One which I am proud that I have overcome, but that I have learned it is a big part of who I am. In eleventh grade I was diagnosed with OCD. Now, I am not talking about being a neat freak and making sure your closet is in order, I am talking about a disorder that controls everything you do! Trust me when I say everything. It took hold of me and certainly my relationships. I was in a relationship in eleventh grade that drained me both emotionally and physically. Looking back, it was empathy for her family situation that drove my OCD off the charts. She became the OCD for me. It took hold of me and I could not let it go. My relationship with my family suffered and school responsibilities became very difficult. All I wanted to do was be with her and take care of her. A few months after we started dating, she and her family had to move away. At the time I was distraught. I could no longer take care of her and her mother. In hindsight, I realize how “crazy “this was. However, it was those values of mine that were able to get me through this.

After several attempts with therapy and medication, I knew I could overcome my OCD on my own. It required hard work and dedication on my part, I was committed to managing this OCD. However, I knew that medication was not the answer, I knew that I had the strength and courage to work this out. I had the support of my family and my school. It was not easy. But then again nothing worth having comes easy. We set very specific goals for each day. With each day. It got easier.

I now view this disorder as a blessing rather than a problem in my life. Through these experiences, I have learned how to deal with other situations in my life. I realized that bad things are going to happen during one’s life. One needs to find a successful way of combating these problems that works for them. Everyone is different and everyone has a different strategy. I had my parents, my school, my teachers and myself, all determined. I also learned that I am not afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help throughout the course of their life. You need to be willing to ask for that help, I have learned this firsthand.

I am proud of the person I am today and excited for the many opportunities that lie ahead for me. OCD is a part of who I am and I can’t hide it or ignore it. Rather embrace it and not let it take hold of me.

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