Nicholas K

I am writing this essay seeking the additional scholarship funding needed to complete my college education. My intended vocation is a math professor or electrical engineer.

One of the greatest challenges that I have faced is discovering that I have Asperger Syndrome. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in my senior year of High School. This diagnosis helped me and my family understand why I’d always had behaviors and attitudes that were considered unusual.

All my life I had struggled with this condition without even knowing it. Being the kid in school that nobody understands and continuously struggling in social situations is a daily routine for me. In grade school, I was the alien on the playground, a social outlaw, a weirdo, a three-dollar bill. I constantly thought about how I felt different and how peculiar my personality was compared to other kids. You could see it in my eyes as I trekked across the playground with nobody to talk to. General kid business was a mystery to me. While other kids were playing tag, I was busy decoding bee behavior and contemplating plant life.

In middle and high school, social challenges became towering obstacles that I could not even comprehend. I had zero interest in mainstream teenaged behavior and social norms. I was prone to solitary intervals of deep, concentrated thoughts on obscure subjects like cosmology, linguistics, botany, and geometry. During these times I would be almost entirely oblivious to simple social behavior like combing my hair and saying hello to friends. As everyone else on the school bus was laughing and talking, I was staring out the window with my mind faraway in profound imagination.

The high costs incurred for the Asperger testing were thankfully diminished under of our health insurance plan. Truthfully, the Asperger Syndrome diagnosis was a blessing. Now, rather than being an outcast, I feel like a member of a strange and exclusive club of creative thinkers. I have learned to recognize and embrace the mental strengths I possess, while admitting and working to improve my social weaknesses.

After my diagnosis, I began beneficial therapy sessions with a counselor who specializes in Asperger Syndrome. This positive and revealing step in helping understand myself has become a truly powerful and motivating factor in my life. In my sessions, I am free to discuss my disability and the difficulties I strive to overcome socially, and my counselor listens without judgment, offering me suggestions and giving me weekly homework designed to improve myself and promote my self-sufficiency.

The costs associated with seeing a counselor on a weekly basis are overwhelming. I could never afford the luxury of treatment if I had to pay the outright hourly fee. Luckily, I have health insurance that greatly reduces these out of pocket costs. I am grateful for the invaluable help that I am able to receive, and my health insurance is directly the reason I am able to continue affordable therapy.

Through practice and honest self-evaluation, I have progressed considerably in the two years since starting college. The overall improvement has been undeniable and irreversible, with the greatest benefit being the increase in confidence that I’d never experienced before. My counseling sessions have been a great part of this progress.

In fact, my progress has been so successful that I have even started tutoring others on campus. During my freshman year of college, my calculus professor gave me a high compliment by recommending me to become a math tutor. What an honor, and truly one of the proudest moments of my life. That I had an ability that I could share with others was such a surprise. I do not think without my previous counseling sessions that I would have had the confidence to accept the position.

I have been greatly pleased at the effects tutoring has had on my life and my personality. It is deeply rewarding for me to teach and help someone I’ve never met to learn something new or conquer a longtime learning challenge. The unintended positive effects of tutoring have been so integral to my lifelong transformation that I have decided that I may want to be a math teacher when I graduate college. This is something I would have never guessed when I first started college.

Even though I have always known I am different, I have always worked hard at my education, knowing that someday I would have a place in this world. Thank you for considering me for your scholarship. I hope I have been successful in persuading you that my further education and career goals are a worthy cause for your grant. If I am chosen, you can rest assured that this will be a secure investment in a solid person and will be appreciated for a lifetime.

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