Books have always been a huge part of my life. Action, comedy, horror, you name it I will read it. I like to think of life as a book because we all face different genres in our lives and we write books one page at a time, sometimes without even knowing it. While finishing up my last class for the day, I figured it was a good time to look back on the pages I wrote at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). While looking back, I realized how much progress I made, going from a rebel from the rez to a student leader and serious scholar. In this book, I’ve made note of how I bested my struggles and that I did my best to keep a page from crumpling. Ink splatters may have caused countless trials, but at the end of the day it’s all about picking up that pen and trying again. I am truly enlivened to share my story as a part of my application for SIPI’s “Student of the Year.”
To begin a page, we often write with our eyes, thoughts, and ears. One of these thoughts was that I would not make it in college and that education was just not for me. But after realizing that my hometown had absolutely nothing to offer, I made the decision to attend SIPI. While I received much support, I also collected much taunt and criticism from family members saying that I would not make it on my own and that I had no future. While this caused some hurt and confusion, I remained determined to escape poverty for better opportunities and enrolled as a full time student at SIPI. We always hear that education is the key to success, so why not take the road less traveled?
Upon breaking out of my shell and beginning to thrive at many opportunities, I, like most people, was hit with some doses of reality that caused a few pages to be wrinkled. As all college students know, homework requires a huge amount of consideration. Some assignments will keep you working for hours at a time, sometimes even all night. But although I’ve spent more time working than sleeping, I found myself very much delighted as I received pleasing grades and appreciation for my dedication. The hard work only added more pages to another chapter.
While still doing well with my studies, another obstacle had put me in the hospital where I needed surgery in order to remove my appendix. While in pain and being physically challenged, mentally, I refused to give up and continue with my education. Five days after surgery, and with slight difficulty, I was back in class. Although missing a few days and assignments, I found myself back on track and still pushing forward. Not long afterwards, however, I received word of two deaths in the family, but was unable to return home for both funerals. Another ink splatter involved another injury incident when my left thumb was bitten by a black widow in my dorm room. The bite took a toll, and within a few days, my illness began to progress into that of anaphylactic shock, prompting doctors to inform me of possible amputation.
The news traumatized me and caused me to consider withdrawal from school. But after receiving the proper care and medication, I was able to return to SIPI for finals week where I passed my exams with flying colors. While receiving encouraging words from fellow peers, some were not so supportive as I was attacked on the SIPI campus by three individuals. The attack could have been very severe or even deadly, as one of the individuals had a knife on him, but fortunately, the incident didn’t go that far. My injuries resulted in a wounded jaw and my right ear slightly cut open. What a way to experience college. Through it all, I thought to myself that I can easily just give up and go home. I could just be another person from the rez that tried and end up right back at home. But after overcoming the odds, failure is not an option for me and it shouldn’t be for anyone. With that in mind, I used that perspective to get back on track, finish what I started, and to keep writing my book.
After my time here at SIPI, I plan to continue my education and climb even higher as I have my eyes set on Harvard University. After proving to others and myself that the impossible is possible, I can confidently say that a future at Harvard can be achieved. Why not? A future at Harvard was also something that I thought was impossible. But after overcoming many odds and not conceding to the negative part of life, I am now self-assured and a firm believer that anything can happen when you put your mind to it. The phrase “You’ll never know until you try” has never been more true for me, I know now because I’ve tried and succeeded; and if Harvard really does happen for me, I plan to utilize the methods taught to me for my career as a journalist as I have a passion for writing. Miracles happen every day, I am hoping one happens for me with this scholarship.
As life has taught us, you never get anywhere without a little help. A scholarship like this would provide a wealth of opportunities and expand my involvement in achieving my existing and future goals. This scholarship would help to erase any apprehension of being unable to pay for my education as I have always paid out of pocket with help from my family. This opportunity says that my education is not limited. By reducing financial concerns, I believe that this scholarship will benefit me in doing better in the classroom and will help to retain my knowledge outside of the classroom. I believe the aid of a scholarship will help make my education and career goals easier to achieve. With the mention of career goals, earning a prestigious scholarship and title of “Student of the Year” would help to make me a more engaging job candidate and employers would recognize both accolades as major accomplishments.
In completing my education, my work could be viewed as an example of absolute commitment and persistence to the Native American community. Not only my work in the classroom, but also how I handled unfortunate situations when unexpected hurdles came my way. In terms of not giving up, the Native people could use my story to help them on their journey and not live by the stereotype that Native people abandon life’s assignments.
Assignments turn to tests and I can proudly say that I’ve passed every one of them. I now live by another phrase “If I can do it, anybody can.” Great minds can come from anywhere, one of those “anywheres” is the reservation. Peers at SIPI have served as inspiration for me and have taught me to fear an unlived life. Maybe I can do the same for fellow Native people. Your life is a book, make it a bestseller.