I graduated from high school standing under six feet tall, yet weighing over 250 pounds. This state of being was not appropriate for feeling good either physically or mentally and so I decided to address this problem directly by working out. Specifically, I embarked upon a running program. In this way I not only attacked the physical cause of feeling bad on a daily basis, but discovered the power of discipline.
Working out with a goal toward losing a substantial amount of weight begins with the acceptance of the harsh realities of mathematics as applied to the simple formula of calories burned off subtracted from caloric intake. Eventually, however, the physical and concrete dimensions of exercise give way to something less precise yet fulfilling. Running every day toward a very specific goal instilled in me a discipline that continues to allow me to meet challenges that at first seem overwhelming.
My parents urged me to study for my degree in England like my brother had done. My brother had a very successful academic career in England and the quality of his education is commensurate with the long history of that country and the excellent schools that have been situated there for centuries. Something inside me resisted the call to follow my brother, however. I understood intuitively that neither England nor America has an educational system that would create a sense of shame for anyone who has successfully graduated from them, so it was not as if I felt that England would offer me something substantially different or better. The reason I chose to further my academic career in America, and specifically at Emory University, has more to do with a sense of pride.
Emory University clearly has a reputation that is renowned around the world. My desire to prove myself here is based in large part upon pride. In fact, there are two senses of pride at stake. I want to prove that American schools do provide just as impressive an education as those in England that my brother attended. I also want to prove that I can be just as successful here as my brother was in England. I am very proud of what I have accomplished here in America and I am very proud of America as an ideal. To get my education here has a special meaning to me that transcends traditional concepts of native homeland and national pride. My desire to do well at one of the most prestigious schools in America carries with it a strain of dualistic price that my graduation will forge into something that is more singular and concrete. A degree earned here carries the immediacy of instantly recognizable professional knowledge that is respected around the world.