Here is a copy of my admission essay for UF, I feel it is a great representation of who I am.
An Essay, Twenty-Six Years in the Making.
My name is Mitchell Gillum, and I used to be a failure. Tough opening, huh? Every college essay offers similar inquiries about forthcoming students; every forthcoming student provides identical college essays. Truthfully, there is no way I can fully pen who I am or elucidate my story in only two double-spaced pages. Why? Because actions speak louder than words. Having said that, how does one voice their actions when there are no observations of the actions themselves? There are only words; these words are not only meant to be perceived, but they are also meant to describe.
Nevertheless, where does one begin? Should I mention how my dream, if I could remember, was to become a Florida Gator? Even when I didn't fully grasp what college was? I just wanted to be in those stands cheering my favorite childhood team. Should I mention being a teenager witnessing Tim Tebow's promise live on television and being inspired to show everyone, they won't see someone who works as hard, plays as hard, and pushes themselves hard in everything I do.
All the things mentioned above are great to read, and while it is indeed accurate, it isn't what made me a failure. I made myself a failure. When my parents got divorced when I was fifteen, given custody to my mother and subsequently had my life uprooted and moved to a new state and to attend public school for the first time after being homeschooled to that point after I graduated from High School with honors, my mother pushed me to attend the same college, she did and pursued a degree I had no personal affection for. Why does this matter? Because I flunked, I didn't care; it is hard to care for school when your mom's new boyfriend kicked you out of your own house because I was “too dependent,” and if my mom wanted to be with this guy, there needed to be no dependent children. Where's the connection? After about two semesters, I left school with a .9 GPA, I had let everyone down, I had broken my own Tebow' inspired promise, and most of all, I was a failure.
Every single time I visit my grandparents after leaving school the first time, they remind me how I could've had my degree by now. Finally, I decided to return to school, and I am writing the same thing as I did when I wrote my financial aid essay begging for a chance. All I can do is let my actions speak, and I refuse to craft beautifully constructed sentences filled with empty promises. I returned to school In Fall 2018, and since then, I have received a 4.0GPA every semester I have been back in school; by the time I graduate with my AA, I will complete six-straight semesters to make up for the lost time. I have made Valencia's presidents list every semester so far, and plan on making no less than the dean's list every semester in the future.
Most importantly, I have risen my GPA above 3.5 and inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society. Looking back on all those accomplishments, are they significant? Yes. Am I proud of myself? Absolutely. What am I most proud of? Sitting down with my grandparents and telling them a degree means nothing to me if I don't know who the person listed on the degree is. A degree symbolically is enough for specific individuals, and that's great. For me, I didn't want a degree with my name on it until I knew who I was. So, who am I? I am still figuring that out, as we all are. Nonetheless, I know this, if I am today, is better than the person I was yesterday, and if I don't become what I was, that is all I can sincerely ask.
Well, I can ask for one other thing, to fulfill my lifelong goal as Gator Grad Charles did similarly, to become a Gator and graduate a Gator. Please give me just one opportunity to prove what I say is true. My girlfriend was admitted to UF, and I would like to experience the same delight she has. UF has a promise that your most recent institution's GPA is all that matters. Please let me once and for all put my past as a failure to rest. Let me be what I've always seen when I looked in the mirror, a success, even more so, a Gator.
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