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Andrew Gregory

“The best way to predict your future is to create it!”

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 when I was in the third grade. She has been in remission since 2014 and is doing well. She has been a teacher with the Wake County Public School System since 1995. I am so happy that she can see me graduate from high school this June and begin my college career. I was accepted at six universities and I have submitted my intent to enroll at UNC Charlotte this fall. I plan to major in accounting and become a CPA. I would be honored to receive this scholarship and it would help my family financially with the cost of college. My mom’s cancer treatments were a large financial burden on my family, so I’m extremely grateful to be considered for this scholarship.

I’m at a crossroads: Do I take the opportunity to get help from my math teacher and get back on track, or do I say no and hope I can dig myself out of the hole I was in? I was tempted to deny the help because this felt more comfortable than having to leave my friends and go meet my teacher. I knew I needed help with the material, but at first, I was unable to accept the fact I needed it. Finally taking up my teacher’s offer was the

best decision I made that entire year. I went to school early every day for the next nine weeks and saw a great improvement in my grade. Before my mom’s cancer, I would always take the path I was most comfortable with and not even consider the opportunities I was turning down.

When I was younger, I was hesitant to try new things. I turned down countless opportunities—such as trying new foods and exploring new places—and didn’t even take a moment to think about what possibilities I might be missing. That changed when my mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when I was nine. Seeing my mom undergo chemotherapy and rely on an oxygen tank to breathe made me realize just how fast life can change; she had suddenly gone from being a mom and a teacher to being a full-time patient. She always told me opportunities were a gift and there was no receipt, so you can’t return them; once an opportunity is gone, it could be gone forever. When she was not around as much, I thought about her words and realized I had to start seizing opportunities on my own. I saw my friends trying new things, and I was tired of missing out. So I decided I would embrace any opportunity I found. This philosophy has been cemented in my brain ever since.

I am now fully open to new experiences. When I needed the extra help in my math class, I emailed my teacher and said I would come in early every morning to work with her. I recognized I needed to take advantage of this opportunity if I wanted to succeed in the class. Not only do I now pursue more opportunities that come my way, but I also seek out new experiences that broaden my perspectives. When Covid-19 first began, I was no longer able to play soccer. I realized that with all this new free time, I would be able to try new things. When I came across a position at a dry cleaner, I took the opportunity without hesitation and started working within three days. At the dry cleaner, I ring up customers’ orders and sort through all the clothes. After working there for almost six months, I have developed more social skills, including how to communicate with bosses and managers and how to assuage frustrated customers. I have also gained insight into how a business is run, and most importantly I have learned to hold myself accountable for all of my responsibilities.

These experiences have taught me that opportunities are given to you for a reason. By taking advantage of them, you put yourself on the path for success. To prepare myself for the upcoming opportunity to major in accounting I am taking a high school accounting class. I am excited to have the opportunity in college to get internships with accounting firms, meet new people through club sports and classes, and experience a new culture by studying abroad. I will not waste the opportunities I discover in college; I am prepared to learn, gain new skills, and push myself to achieve my goals.