Common App Essay: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth | Lah’Nasia

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Thursday, May 17, 2018. The day that changed it all. The sky grew gravel gray, as the large clouds streamed raindrops overhead, rhythmically smacking onto the windshield of my car. The wipers moved in a hypnotizing motion– left, right, left, right, left. I was so consumed by my thoughts that I barely registered the murmur of the radio in the background. This was the day of new beginnings. For most, this was a day to look forward to; for me, this was a day I feared. The day I received my license.

When I arrived home, following the test, my mom was eager to send me out to run errands…by myself! Prior to that very moment in time, I had never driven alone. Obviously, driving alone would have been illegal, but the anxiety it caused brought more fear than the law. I was afraid of being alone. What if something went wrong? Who would call for help? Who would I talk to? And most importantly, who would control the music? My mom was aware of my worries, so for her to ask me to drive alone the very first day I received my license was preposterous.

I knew that it had to happen sooner or later, so I mustered up some courage, put on my big girl pants, and walked out to the car. As I prepared to drive off, I made sure everything was how it was supposed to be. Seat belt– check. Mirrors– check. Phone away– check. Everything was perfect and it was time. Time to do something I’d never done before and take my first step towards independence.

Taking that first drive made me realize that all my life, I relied on everyone aside from myself. I relied on my friends to listen to me vent. I relied on my siblings to ensure that I never felt alone. I relied on my mom to perform the duties that are expected of moms, even those that I was old enough to do myself. I was never self-reliant. I never trusted myself. I learned to slam on the brakes before I ever had the opportunity to turn the key.

Like most teenagers, I can admit that I lack self-confidence, not in a physical sense, but a more mental sense. I always assume that I’m wrong, even if in the back of my mind I know I’m 100% right. It could be something as trivial as if I should remove my foot from the break once the light turns green. I know that green means go, but there is always some doubt. I did not believe in myself, in the possibility that I could be right about things. It’s as if I always have a little devil on my shoulder telling me I am wrong. Unfortunately, I had grown so accustomed to having others there to catch me when I fall, that I had no idea how to catch myself.

May 17th was the day I was forced to catch myself. At the time, it felt dangerous and unsteady, but now that I look back, I am glad to have experienced this turning point in my life. I realized that I cannot always depend on others because there will come a point when they are no longer around and the only person I’ll have is myself. With that mindset, I began doing more things on my own that I never imagined I could do. I drive alone regularly, cook, do laundry, and shop for myself. I have gained confidence and learned to trust myself more. Eventually, I began to actually enjoy doing things on my own; I felt accomplished. I realized that I am capable of doing things for myself if I just believe and take chances. Day by day, I am gradually pressing down on the gas on the road to independence and self-confidence. Published in Common Application Essays, Successful College Essays, Successful UPenn Essays

Lah'Nasia

The University of Pennsylvania 2023
Top Rated
About the Author 🎓
Major: Psychology
Accepted Universities:
The University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State University University of Connecticut Temple University Rutgers University Drexel University Fordham University Jefferson University West Chester University Widener University
Hometown: New Jersey
Lah’Nasia is a verified Squired mentor from The University of Pennsylvania. Sign up to connect with Lah’Nasia and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

Lah'Nasia

The University of Pennsylvania 2023
Top Rated
Lah’Nasia is a verified Squired mentor from The University of Pennsylvania. Sign up to connect with Lah’Nasia and other mentors from top schools including Stanford, MIT and the Ivy League. Whether you’re looking for advice on your essay, program selection or application planning, Squired’s mentors are here for you.

More Essays