Locking In: Advice That Changed My Life

Each year, Spark the Journey high school seniors have an opportunity to apply for the Henry D. Owen scholarship. This scholarship was named by Spark in honor of Henry D. Owen, a creative, compassionate, talented and diligent public servant who played a pivotal role in creating Spark the Journey. Mr. Owen was a distinguished diplomat and leader who served his country. The Henry D. Owen Scholarship was established in 2012 and is designed to assist Spark students who demonstrate a dedication to the program values. For the 2023 scholarship, one of our award winners was Korgis. In his scholarship essay submission, he wrote about advice from his mother that has influenced his time in school and how he views his role as the oldest of his siblings. 

I’ve been told lots of very important things in my life. Whether it’s, “Make sure to feed the turtle!” or “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” I’ve always managed to take pieces of information and do my best to exemplify these words of wisdom. Though, the same could be said for many people. Throughout our lives, we encounter lots of pivotal moments that shape our character and set the course for our future. 

One such moment for me was when my mother gave me one of the best pieces of advice I could have possibly received, telling me, “If you wanna be somebody, and you wanna go somewhere, you’d better wake up and pay attention.” These words served as a guiding light throughout my school years and continue to inspire me as I venture head-first into my college education. I would like to delve deeper into the significance of my mother’s quote with you and how it resonates with my personal struggles and will guide my path forward for college and beyond. 

Growing up with primarily my mother early in my life, we always noticed that it was common for me to lose focus in school or with completing tasks in general. Growing up with attention deficit disorder, or ADD, I ran into these problems more often than not, which hindered my academic progress and overall personal growth a lot. 

Recognizing the importance of addressing this challenge, my parents sought professional guidance and support. Consequently, I was prescribed medication that helped improve my focus and concentration. Eventually, however, it was my mother and father’s unwavering support and belief in my potential that truly bolstered my resilience. They stood by me, reminding me to be attentive and to embrace opportunities that came my way. 

My mother’s quote holds profound meaning for me, rooted in her unwavering dedication to my well-being and success. Going through school and having her words in mind helped me strive to do my best in class and take in as much information as I could whenever it was possible. Heck, had it not been for her, I wouldn’t know how to drive! She not only wanted the best for me, but she also possessed an uncanny ability to find the silver lining in any situation. 

My mother is one of the most inspiring people in my life because not only did she manage to put up with my mess on her own, she’s also doing an excellent job taking care of my four younger siblings as well! Her words resonate deeply, serving as a constant reminder that wakefulness and paying attention are the keys to unlocking my full potential. Through her perspective, I learned to view setbacks as opportunities for growth and to approach challenges with a determined mindset.  

And now, as I head off to achieve a higher education, my mother’s words continue to guide me. I am aware that college demands unwavering attention, perseverance, and an ability to seize opportunities for personal and intellectual development. By internalizing her advice, I will navigate the rigorous academic environment with an unwavering focus, seeking to excel not only in engineering fields but also in cultivating a well-rounded skillset. 

The financial support I receive through this scholarship will not only empower my pursuit of academic excellence but also enable me to serve as a positive role model for my four younger siblings. As the eldest, I play a big role in influencing them throughout their lives, and I can only wish to be the best example for them. By utilizing this scholarship to the fullest extent, I will not only set a precedent for success in my family but also instill in my siblings the belief that if they believe in themselves, they can do anything they put their minds to.