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The Essay That Helped Me Get Into MSU

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

You college application essays probably got pushed to the back of your mind after you officially committed to college. For me, this isn’t the case. My story greatly impacted me and left a lasting impact on my life today:

My eyes were filled with red and blue lights, sitting in the back of a police car, but not for the reason you would think. I remember everything about that night. I remember the Littlest Pet Shop DVD that I got from the library that evening. I remember the building we were parked at and even the sticker on the window. I remember my dad talking to the officer outside, taking me home, and telling me not to tell anyone. I remember being lied to and given excuses. 

That was the night my mom went to jail for the first time, but it was not the last. From that day on, my responsibilities, perspective, and morals changed, and I was not prepared. 

My mom would go on to be arrested two more times for drunk driving. My younger self had no idea the impact this would have had on my academics, relationships, and mental health. She doesn’t know what I know now. 

My mom’s most recent arrest in January 2020 forced me to mature and adopt responsibilities that any young teenager should not be expected to withstand. With my parents divorced, my father living far away, and my sister at college, I came home from school every day to an empty house. When I got my driver’s license I became the sole transportation for the household, as my mom’s license was revoked. To make matters worse, I continued to experience this situation when the COVID-19 pandemic began. I dealt with isolation and a lack of motivation as I continued to attend school as if nothing was happening around me. In addition, I was expected to keep it all inside, not telling any of my friends about the experiences and hardships I was enduring. It felt like I did not have control of my own life. It felt like I was once again in the back of the police car; someone else was at the wheel. 

From visits with Child Protective Services to losing friendships to the taboo-ness of the topic of alcoholism in every family conversation, I felt a sense of helplessness that contributed to my lack of motivation and that was exacerbated by the pandemic-induced quarantine. Being successful in my academic and personal life was important to me, but these things got put on the back burner when my basic needs of safety, security, good health, and belonging were not even close to being met. 

With intervention from my sister and father, my situation improved. I know that I will face challenges in the future, but I am now more equipped than ever with the perspective, motivation, and positivity to take on these challenges. It would be easy to let these things control my life. However, I realized that if the situations around me were not going to change, I would have to let go of the things I could not control and instead, change my perspective. I discovered that I could control my own thinking, my work ethic, the effort I put into relationships with others, and my ultimate goals. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to focus on what I can control. 

Do I look at my high school transcript and feel embarrassed that I would let myself get a C in food preparation? Yes, I do. But not only have I learned to have grace with myself in the context of adversity, but I have also learned that I cannot let my experiences define me. I am defined by my qualities, such as kindness, resilience, and compassion. I am defined by the relationships that I continue to build with those that matter to me. I am defined by the patience with which I treat myself. I know that I will have the strength to face future challenges, because I am who I choose to become. I am at the wheel.

Brooklynn is a freshman this year at Michigan State University, studying Journalism. Brooklynn grew up in West Bloomfield Michigan and graduated from West Bloomfield High School. Her favorite subjects included English, multi media arts and French. Brooklynn enjoys baking, shopping, watching movies, doing makeup, being in nature and especially writing. She is super excited to be a part of Her Campus and hopes to get creative and inspire others.