A frigid breeze brushes against my skin. I ignore it. There are more important matters at hand. I brace my hands against the ground and push myself to my feet. The grass, normally very soft, feels like concrete and is sharp to the touch. I glance over my right shoulder and see the familiar scoreboard, painted brown and bordered in red and white. The bright white lights display a number that has been both my worst enemy and my greatest ally, “0:00.” My eyes shift to a teammate on the left. “We did it again.” I said, grinning.
There is a tremendous feeling of raw 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.
As a student-athlete at Brown University, I learned to value perseverance. 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 have other things I need to be doing right now,” was a common phrase heard during our pre-sunrise 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 Athletics was active in the community and I participated in a wide array 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.
From these events, one 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 travel to the school. 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 all four years. At the end of the day, I found myself forgetting they had special needs.
The desire to achieve differs among individuals. My environment fostered this desire. It 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 selected All-Ivy. I was grateful for the wonderful experiences and opportunities. But deep inside, I always wanted more.
Participating in a team-oriented environment developed and refined my leadership skills. It taught me the importance of giving back to the community. It taught me the intrinsic value of cooperation and accountability. The practice of business law is analogous to a team. Using knowledge gained, you contribute ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and work towards an important goal. The lessons I learned and situations I encountered have given me the foundation to develop into a truly successful lawyer. I am ready to take this next step in my education. I welcome the opportunity to improve.