Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt

U of I - Personal Statement 10/22/2001

A decision made early on can sometimes affect the rest of your life. This is especially true when a child makes a lifestyle choice and decides to follow that choice through. A child will often say something such as "I want to be a fireman when I grow up" - placing a goal in the future that is generally not followed through. Every now and then there is one of those statements that sticks. In this case, something said many years ago can continue to influence decisions to the present day. When I was a child, I decided that I was going to be my own person, no matter what. People could make fun of me or humiliate me for what I believed, but I would stand up for what I thought or believed in. I have maintained that attitude for many years, throughout my entire education.
I chose to take home economics as an 8th grader - a rather unorthodox class to take as a 14 year old male. Many people teased me about choosing a "girly" class. I maintained my schedule and enjoyed the class immensely. Had I been less determined to hold the path I had chosen, I would have missed out on learning to sew, experiencing being a parent for a week, and running a preschool for a day. All of these experiences have carried through with me to this day. When choosing classes in high school, I encountered a similar situation. I had choosen to take Computer Science classes in high school. I was jokingly called a "computer nerd" and a "geek". I stayed enrolled in the course through that semester and two more - and because of it I was able to achieve a score of 5 on the Computer Science AB exam. Had I relied on peer pressure instead of my beliefs, I would have dropped a valuable class. These are both examples of how a simple decision has affected my academic record.

There are many other areas of life where decisions can be affected by peer pressure. When deciding what to participate in as after school activities, I often came across a choice between a "fun" club where I would not learn much and a more academically centered activity where I could expand my knowledge in a subject. By choosing to participate in such activities as North Suburban Math League and Scholastic Bowl at the high school level, I not only get to meet new people with similar interests, I also get to learn about many different subjects. In North Suburban, I have traveled to many different schools to compete. I have experienced many different topics of mathematics, from the ability to use matrices in planar geometry to derivatives of complex equations. By participating in this club, I have expanded my knowledge of these topics beyond that which is taught in class because I enjoyed it. I continue to participate in this club as a senior and am looking forward to compteting again this year. I have also met many people through this club who I have kept in touch with throughout the years. By traveling to other schools to compete I get the oppourtunity to relate with students from schools miles away from my own. Both the expansion of mathematical topics and the expanding relationships with students from other schools has kept me involved in this club despite my busy schedule. As a Scholastic Bowl member, I studied many different subjects, including such varied topics as Schrödingers Equation and great literature of the 20th century. Despite the differing opinions of the club by those who did not participate in it, I was able to meet people and enjoy myself, all while learning about many different subjects. The road less traveled is almost always more difficult, but the prize at the end is worth the extra work.

Outside of school, the same idea can be applied. While others are out with friends, I could often be found looking over my work to ensure that the work was the best it could be. While others enjoy a leisurely pace for their senior year, I maintain a full course load which will keep me involved in schoolwork. However, I maitain relationships with people from all walks of life. I am friends with people I have met in Boy Scouts, in North Suburban Math League, in school and through work. I am able to keep myself busy with school while at the same time allowing myself to be around people that have similar intrests to mine. At the same time, I stay clean and in control of my life. I have not given into the temptations that have drawn so many people I know away from the path they wanted to take. In a town where alcohol sometimes seems to be a fact of life, I maintain a sober mind and body. Despite oppourtunities to deviate from this path, I have remained true to that age old vow to be true only to myself.

In work, I follow the same ideal. While other employees converse with friends, I can often be found sweeping the floor, organizing an area, or merely maintaining an employee prescence. Even when others feel it is acceptable to leave their posts, I continue to do the best job I can.

In more ways than one, a simple childhood vow has made itself a factor throughout my life. Because of this, I do my best at work, in school, and in all areas of my life. I do this despite anyone else’s opinions, merely for the sake of following through on that promise made so long ago. I believe this shows dedication to a cause and perserverance through the good times and the bad times, qualities that will help me in the contiunuation of my education.

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