National Merit Essay

Topics: Carnegie Mellon University, Family, Face Pages: 2 (501 words) Published: February 28, 2014
I look exactly like my older sister Michelle. You’d sometimes think we were twins if not for the seven year gap and the one inch height difference. What that seven year separation doesn’t show in our faces, it makes up for in our experiences. The situation worked in my favor; Michelle went through various life stages years ahead of me, allowing her to share her “Now that I look back on it” wisdom with me. Because of this, my sister took it upon herself to guide me through adolescence. I am eternally grateful to have had her to support and care through our tumultuous childhood. My mother left our abusive father when I was four and Michelle was eleven. The next few years of our family life were chaotic; financial difficulties led to the three of us moving in with relatives while my sister and I had no contact with our dad. Eventually he reconnected with us and we began spending half of our time with him. This period was difficult for both of us, but it was especially so for my sister. However, despite continued abuse and my dad’s attempts to belittle her, she went on to earn a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon within four and a half years. Along with her successful career, she has come to terms with her past. She’s clever, hilarious, generous, kind, loving, intelligent, and has a strong moral compass. When I look at her, I see hope. Ultimately I see hope for me. While I often contemplate with envy the image of perfection I see in her, I have come to realize that her success story could be mine as well. She gives me an ideal to strive for. Unlike some role models, she is real, I know her well, and we have a shared history. I see her human flaws along with her perfection. In this way her level of success is not some unattainable ideal, but something that I know I have the ability to reach. Her success motivates me to work through my own issues in a way that other people’s success cannot. I have had a tendency to avoid my...
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