Everyone has times where they wish they could be doing anything other than what they are currently doing. I am no exception to this rule, and, like many people, have found myself in this situation when spending time with family. Throughout my childhood and continuing into my adulthood, I have been raised by a single mom. While I do realize the difficulties this job imposes on any mother, her job was made much easier by her parents and my grandparents. My grandparents were the set of parents I never had. My grandfather taught me many of the things that I assume fathers teach their sons, and showed me what a father was supposed to be like. After spending so much time with my grandparents, and especially my grandfather, I began to take advantage of it. Whenever they would visit, I would constantly be out of the house and spend time with my friends, thinking I would spend time with them later. I would play video games while they would play Scrabble, thinking that kind of interaction would satisfy both of our needs. Never did I imagine life without them, as I had always taken for granted their existence. Until my grandfather passed away.
XXXX, my grandfather, passed away on August 17, 2007, which happened to coincide with my first week of college. As I was walking back to my dorm room in the sweltering, south Georgia heat, I got a phone call from my mom, who broke the news to me. The next week was a blur, including the three-hour drive home from school and the two-hour, private plane ride to West Virginia. As far as the events that normally accompany a person’s death goes, the only thing I remember about those is a lot of tears. After the funeral was over, I somehow managed my way back to school. Things were not the same though.
When I returned to school, I was not the same person. I felt a huge void in my life and constantly felt like something was missing. To satisfy this void, I looked for answers all over the place. For starters, I applied to the Air Force Academy to honor my grandfather. While I had never considered this idea before his death, I thought it would be great to honor my grandfather in this fashion, mainly because he was in the Air Force. To enter the Air Force Academy, you need a nomination from a Congressman in your area. This nomination is very competitive and each Congressman only has 2 nominations to give out. After expressing my recent grievances to the panel of those handing out nominations, they deemed that I would not make a good candidate due to the fact that I was not seeking an appointment for grandfather, not myself. While this is not what I wanted to hear, it was the truth.
After my Air Force aspirations evaporated, I looked for other outlets to express my grievances. After going home and spending time with my mother, I got the idea to move in with my grandma so we could both support each other during such a tough time. While I lived with her, I would go to school and play football. In turn, I moved to West Virginia in December of 2007 to live with my grandma and attend Marshall University.
Coming out of high school, I was recruited by many schools to play football, and Marshall was one of them. I talked to the coaches at Marshall who recruited me, and told them I would be going to Marshall in the spring and they were very pleased to have me on the team. I spent the next few months being consumed by football and school, and had little time to spend with my grandmother. Most days consisted of going to early morning workouts, going to class, going to meetings for football, going to practice, then returning home and going to bed. While I did learn a great amount of responsibility during this time, my relationship with my grandma deteriorated. This was most likely due to my angry outlook on life. I was still angry that my grandpa had left me, and did not hesitate to take my frustrations out on anyone who crossed my path. Needless to say, I moved out of my grandmother’s house in July of 2008 and moved back to Georgia. During this time, many of my friends were going back to college, and some of them convinced me to come back to the school I had left 7 months prior. However, not much would change in my attitude or mindset after returning to my previous school.
After I returned to Georgia Southern University, I was once again, a different person. Instead of looking to football to take out my anger and aggression, I turned to alcohol (along with other things), and spent many nights at the bar, seemingly drinking my life away. I became a lot angrier than before, and because of this, I began to lose friends while alienating others who did not approve of my lifestyle. After losing a lot of my friends, I turned to video games to solve my problems. I would often times stay up until 3 or 4 A.M living in a virtual world, because it was so much better than reality at that time. This depressing type of lifestyle was just that, depressing. I felt alone and still felt like it was my grandfather’s fault. After finishing my final exams of the fall semester, I returned home and dropped out of school.
I no longer felt like going to school. In fact, I did not feel like doing much of anything. I spent a lot of time by myself, while my mother went to work, and would spend the whole day playing video games and trying to figure out what I was destined to do in this world. I worried that I, someone with great potential, would be the single, 40 year old, living in his mother’s basement, working a meaningless job and living a meaningless life. However, this would all change with one event.
My mother had gotten a puppy a few months before I moved home and I was the one looking after it most of the time. It was this puppy that helped me to be happy for the first time since my grandfather’s death. Pete, the puppy, gave me something to look forward to. Mostly, I looked forward to him being so excited to see me every time I came home. Somebody happily greeting me when I came home was something very new to me. After my grandfather had passed away, I became very unpleasant to be around, and every time I entered the door, my family seemed very careful as to what they said to me, making sure I didn’t explode at any second. But Pete was different. Pete did not care how I acted towards him; he was always genuinely excited to see me. Essentially, the actions of a dog helped me to find happiness again.
After spending a lot of time with the puppy, my outlook on life changed. I started working out again, reunited with old friends, and rekindled relationships within my family. I decided to go back to school (University of West Georgia), close to my mother’s house, and felt excited about life for the first time in seemingly a long while. It was during this time I became fascinated with learning. While I had maintained a respectable GPA with minimal effort before I went to West Georgia, I felt like my approach to learning needed a fresh start. For the first time in my college career, I read the books that were assigned to me, I participated in class discussions, and enjoyed going to class. With this combination and newfound passion, I excelled for the next two years at West Georgia. I took a wide variety of classes, ranging from French to E-commerce website design, all while being a political science major. While I never knew what I was going to do with a political science degree, I knew that I enjoyed learning about politics and political history, and that is what was ultimately most important to me.
It was not until the fall of 2010 that I decided to pursue law school. I had never had my sights set on it, nor had I ever considered it. But after spending a lot of time researching the basic tenants behind law school, it only seemed like the next logical step in my educational progression. The thought of going to law school and learning the intricacies, formulation, and history of the law seemingly produced the same emotions and excitement as I had experienced during my first few weeks at West Georgia. This excitement combined with my first girlfriend in four years, helped lead me to the happiest place I had ever been.
The last three semesters of my college career helped me to realize my potential. During this time, I earned a 4.0 each semester and was genuinely excited to learn as much as I could. I realized that living life with an optimistic outlook and having positive interactions with my friends and family made life, in general, so much more fulfilling. I made many friends, rekindled relationships with my family, and found the spiritual guidance I had always sought in the Catholic Church. Ultimately, I was able to find inner happiness.
In four short years, I’ve gone from the lowest of lows and loneliest of lonely to living a very meaningful and happy life. I know what it means to face adversity, and I know how to overcome it. I know what responsibility is, and know how to take care of what needs to be taken care of. I know what it means to have passion, and know how to apply this passion towards anything I set my mind to. With this being said, I know that I will struggle in law school, but I will be able to overcome it. I know that I will have many responsibilities in law school, but I will gracefully manage all of them. And I know I will have a burning desire to learn as much as I can in law school, and I will apply this passion to my work ethic.
Thank you for reading this far. I assume you all are going to say it's too long. What do you suppose I take out?
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