My Road to Make a Difference by Ashton

Ashton's entry into Varsity Tutor's March 2020 scholarship contest

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My Road to Make a Difference by Ashton - March 2020 Scholarship Essay

Flash forward: It’s a warm fall morning in August of 2030, the halls of our local elementary school in our small Texas town looks like Dallas traffic at 5:30 at night. Everyone is scurrying around in a million different directions, traffic jams are frequent between teachers talking and friend groups reuniting, excitement, nerves, and motivation are bouncing off every wall filling the building with energy. The first day of school is always exciting for all involved, and I’m smiling as I take it all in and begin my fourth year of being an occupational therapist at the school. I look forward to seeing some of my returning kiddos and anticipate meeting my new ones. Each kid I see throughout my week is so uniquely different and full of surprises and challenges, which is what I love about the job. The variety in each diagnosis and prognosis keeps my days forever changing and the kids keep me forever motivated to be better. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, all the hard work and years in school were definitely worth it.

Right now, here in Brookings, South Dakota in the year 2020, I am a freshman psychology major with a biology minor on the pre-occupational therapy track. I live in the dorm, take generals and OT prerequisites, all while trying to balance dance team commitments, church, friends, school, shadowing hours, and still manage to pay for school. How do I get from here to the life I described in the first paragraph? A long time in school and a lot of motivation, and hopefully by utilizing my following plan.
I once had a teacher tell me, “No one is perfect.” In my head I was already thinking, “what a cliche.” But he continued, “Our society strives for perfection and wears themselves thin trying to become something they will never be. When you get into the real world, no one will care if you had a perfect 4.0 GPA, or if you aced every exam, or if you did every extra opportunity that made you an expert in that one specific thing. No one will care. People care about your empathy, your friendliness, your fun stories that taught you how to be a better person. They will only care that you turned out to be a decent human being and you won’t get that from being a perfectionist.” I base my career plan off of that discussion I had with him. My goal is to be an occupational therapist and a good one at that. But my goal is also to live, make friends, fail, and try new things. I hope by the time it is 2030 that I can say and know that I am far from perfect and that I can recount the times I failed and smile at the times I got back up. To become an Occupational Therapist I have to go through seven years of school, four in my bachelors and three in my masters or doctorate. I have to financially support myself through jobs that will probably be makeshift jobs or people’s scut work. I know the world is going to throw me a million curveballs, and I know I will swing and miss, but I also know that a few of those times I’m going to smack it straight on and hit a homerun.
My ten year career plan looks like seven years of school and shadowing. I know one or two of those years will include clinicals and internships that will lead to me gaining an OT job. I hope to become a travel OT right out of school when I am still at a time of exploring and continue to be a travel OT for a year or two. After traveling for some time and being on an irregular schedule, I hope to use my experience and transition to an elementary school where I can help little kids with disabilities keep up with their other classmates and grow into wonderful and successful people.

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