Varsity Tutors Scholarship Winner

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Kathryn mullis   vt
Kathryn Mullis
Winston-Salem, NC
March 2018

A Life of Learning - Varsity Tutors Scholarship Essay

A little girl just got home from school. As she excitedly put down her backpack and leapt onto the couch, she thought about all that had happened that day. She jumped rope at recess with her friends. She learned about penguins and drew pictures of princesses. Second grade was awesome and she didn’t want it to ever end!

If I could talk to this girl, I would tell her that later that year, she would be introduced to times tables and it would seem impossibly difficult. Suddenly, there would be more and more concepts to challenge her. I would tell this young student that as the years go by, school might begin to seem like a chore. She may start to question the “point” of learning certain things. Tough times are inevitable for every student, but with them comes a resilience and exposure to new ideas. Therefore, nothing you learn is “useless.” I would then ask this second grader if she remembers learning to tie her shoes. It seemed impossible at first, but now it can be done without a second thought! Things that were once out of reach at the time become possible through learning.

However, I didn’t always have this outlook on learning. Even though I did all my work and got good grades, I felt like there wasn’t a bigger goal behind it, or a driving force outside of simply fulfilling requirements. That’s why when it came time to apply to college, I was hesitant. Suddenly, my future was in my own hands and it was intimidating. As everyone was quickly ushered off to college, I decided to take a gap year to plan out the next steps for my future. It was during this gap year that I was able to see education with a new and better perspective. I realize now that I had been looking at learning all wrong; I actually missed it. I was incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to school and gain knowledge. I am a testament to the fact that the more you learn, the more you grow and learn about yourself.

A big part of my newfound appreciation for education was making school applicable to my personal goals. What did I want to be? What did I want to accomplish? What did I want to do? Along these lines, I would ask this second grade girl what she wants to do more than anything else. Whether she ends up doing that as a career or something completely different, it is important to know from an early age that learning is a necessary part of achieving whatever dreams one has. I would make sure this girl understands that anything she wants to be or do will be directly tied to continued learning throughout her life.

My passion is art so I want to go to college and become a graphic designer. After my changed outlook on learning, I began to focus my attention on how I could achieve these goals. Continuing my learning in college was the next step. I concentrated all my energy on creating a portfolio and application that I was really proud of and I got into my dream school, the College of Design at NC State!

My final words to this little girl would be that she should never sell herself short. I would tell her to always work hard because each action today impacts tomorrow. In all the challenges and endeavors to come, she should keep the big picture in mind and remember her goals. Education helps a person grow into the person they want to be and are capable of being. Learning never actually ceases as long as one’s mind is open to it. So I would tell her to never, ever, ever stop learning.