Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?
I remember being thirteen years old and walking out of a Long Beach hospital towards my father's car after spending the previous ten days of my life in a hospital bed. I was wheeled to the front door, where they let me get up and walk to the car. After being locked away for that amount of time, everything felt different; the air seemed fresher, the sun seemed brighter. Walking around out doors was on its own something to appreciate.
Only two weeks earlier I was at summer camp with friends in upstate New York. I had just gotten over a sinus infection that had kept me locked up in the camp's infirmary and away from the crystal clear lake and green mountainous forests that surrounded us. The morning before I was leaving this magnificent setting for home I woke up with a migraine headache – light, sound, movement; nothing was tolerated.
My condition had changed by the time I woke up when we were just minutes away from Los Angeles Airport. I was glad to find that the migraine had gone away, but confused when I realized my entire face had become swollen. After days of pain and hours of travel, we felt simple rest and a hearty bowl of chicken soup would ease my symptoms. As the next day came and the swelling remained, it was now apparent that a trip to the emergency room was needed. Stunned by my condition, the doctors informed us that I could have easily gone blind in my left eye and could have died had we arrived only a few hours later. After countless needle-pricks and a last-resort surgery, I was finally able to go home, still alive and able to see.
All that time spent in a plain room, surrounded by nothing but four white walls, two beds, and an old television, made me realize how life can change at the drop of a hat and that every day should be lived to the fullest. Getting through this experience and remaining completely healthy is something I am very grateful for because it has helped me through other difficult situations throughout my life, whether those difficulties have been social, or academic. For example, Model United Nations, an international debate program, can be a very stressful and nerve-racking experience for a student. While standing in front of up to one hundred people with my legs shaking and heart racing, I know in the back of my mind that I will persevere. The lessons learned from facing such a dire circumstance have transcended over all my endeavors.
This is where the sense of pride comes in. While I am not proud of being ill, I am proud of what I have learned from it; I know that I have the will power to get through challenging situations and that no matter what happens, I will endure.
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