We have a winner!! We are pleased to announce our college scholarship essay winner. And the winner is... RACHEL KISER
It’s over. We are officially breaking up. I am ready to oust you from my life and move on. This is the last time I will be writing you, but before I say good-bye, I want to put everything out on the table. Firstly, thanks for ruining my life. I had an amazing life before you filled with friends, a swimming career, straight A’s, nights out, and dates. Then you came along. You seemed harmless at first, but after a while, I realized you were no good. Pure evil, a crime against humanity. You, single-handedly, ruined my senior year. Because of you, I didn’t go to prom, football games, graduation, senior assassin, or college. You ruined my parent’s relationship. You are the reason my parents cry themselves to sleep every night from the torture you put me through. You don’t care about my happiness or my feelings. You only care about yourself. You are a tumor, literally. You are the cancerous tumor that lay dormant on my heart, slowly spreading through my body. With you, I felt true loneliness that could only be described as a prison. You can only sit and contemplate life and the unfair hand it has dealt you. You took advantage of me when I was at my weakest and for that, I will never forgive you.
On the other hand, I would be lying if I didn’t say you were the best thing that could have happened to me. Before we met, I was depressed. Life was monotonous, sad, and honestly, not worth living. I don’t know if it was the pressure to succeed in academics or the abandonment from my friends and family, but the anxiety made me hate life. Then you came along. You made me realize that you get one chance to make an impression and that I still could make my life better. When we met, I realized that I didn’t want to work a “safe and boring” job. I decided I was going to take a risk and pursue what I love the most: fashion. You taught me to take risks and own the present. You showed me who my real friends are and that some people are not worth your time, even if they are your family. I met some amazing new friends that I will cherish forever. You made me not only appreciate life, but also death. How at any moment, we can die and that your final seconds could be filled with regret of what you didn’t do or how you could have done things differently. I’m not going to live my life like that. I refuse to let you fill me with regret and sorrow. I choose peace.
We have a history, memories that I will never forget. I hope to never see you again, but if our paths cross again, I will accept it. I will not be angry or sad or hateful or depressed. However, I will fight my hardest to make sure you leave my life, for good. I know this because I am stronger than you. You are not a person; you don’t have feelings, or attachments, or hatred, or love, or interests, which is why I don’t hate you. I can’t hate something or put energy into something that isn’t human. You didn’t target me or hurt me on purpose because you are what you are: a tumor. Nothing more, nothing less. However, if one day you are the death of me, just remember: if I go, you go with me; you can’t hurt anyone else. I will know that I died as a person who was loved and remembered. I will die someone that made a difference and meant something to people. You...you will be nothing because you are nothing. You will never be anything to me.
Despite all you ever did to me, I will never forget you because you made me the person I am right now. I am alive. I am a survivor. I am not afraid of you. I will never be afraid.
I often wondered about Joey’s essay criteria during the planning process. My suggestions were let’s have a set of random topics annually, stipulate the font and format, and choose between APA and MLA. It quickly became clear that this was not going to be a part of the program. Instead, there was one sentiment that Joey considered the priority. Each participant’s essay would be an example of free expression to tell a story, their story. It will be an open and inclusive platform to say something, anything they want to say.
He would be happy to see his vision empower - through sharing and showcasing the amazing young men and women who participate. These survivors like him just want to be, to live their life, to dream, and to make a difference. We celebrate all the entrants for their perseverance and compelling narratives.
Rachel captures this sentiment with her format that says as much as the powerful words that fill it. She composed a complicated, yet simple letter that tells a story, her story. Thank you Rachel for letting us view life through your prism. Congratulations again, for winning our 2016 college scholarship essay! Many blessings!