A frigid breeze brushes against my skin. Despite the freezing temperatures, my body does not react. There are more important matters at hand. I brace my hands against the ground and pushed myself to my feet. The grass, normally very soft, felt like concrete and was sharp to the touch. I glanced over my right shoulder and saw the familiar scoreboard, painted brown and bordered in red and white. The bright white lights displayed a number that has been both my worst enemy and greatest ally, “0:00.” My attention shifted to a teammate on the left. “We finally did it.” I said, grinning.
There is a feeling of raw happiness and excitement when you accomplish an important goal. As I stood on that grass field amidst the fans, friends, and family in attendance, I reflected on my past. Life is a great teacher, but she gives the test before she teaches the lesson.
I learned to value perseverance. As a student-athlete at Brown University, I loved the competitive atmosphere and I loved representing my university. The Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships. Each student is given the same need-based scholarship. There was no financial incentive for an athlete and we were free to leave the team if we chose. Despite juggling over forty hours of athletic obligations each week, plus a full academic workload, I could not be happier. Regardless of how exhausted I was from the day’s events, I enjoyed accomplishing each objective. There were many late night study sessions. “I can think of a few other things I need to be doing right now,” was a common phrase heard during our early morning workouts. Time management skills were an absolute necessity. Without them I would have been overwhelmed with work.
I was afforded a variety of opportunities during my academic tenure. One of the most enjoyable opportunities was a chance to give back to the Providence community. Brown University Athletics was active in the community and I participated in a number of philanthropic events. These events ranged from leading all-night walk teams, constructing a house for an under-privileged family, and raising pledge donations to benefit cancer research.
One event in particular stood out. Fox Point was a local elementary school located not far from campus. Each week around 10-15 volunteers would gather and venture to Fox Point. We would spend an hour of our day, normally between our class schedules and practices, playing with the children during their recess. I was amazed at the complexity of each child’s personality. The kids were extremely perceptive. They could spot when I was not having a “good” day and were always quick to point it out. We would talk about their day, what video games they enjoyed, and their favorite animals. They taught me to cherish my life and the relationships that developed. I volunteered for four years. At the end of the day, I found myself forgetting they had special needs.
The desire to achieve differs among each individual. This desire is comparable to a feeling of restlessness. Academia and athletics only provided a temporary relief. I was on pace to graduate with a degree in Economics from a school with a great academic reputation, I won two Ivy League championships (the only class in the school’s history to accomplish the feat), and was an All-Ivy selection. I was grateful for the wonderful experiences and opportunities. But deep inside, I wanted more.
Participating in a team-oriented environment honed my leadership skills. It taught me the intrinsic value of teamwork and accountability. It taught me the importance of giving back to the community. The practice of business law is analogous to a team. You contribute ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and work towards an important goal. The lessons learned and situations experienced have given me the foundation to develop into a truly successful lawyer. I am ready to take this next step in my education and I welcome the opportunity to improve.