Winning Essay by Emmanuel M., University of Missouri-Kansas City
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When the tasks of my life become overwhelming and I feel like quitting everything, I think of my dad and the story of how he came to this country with nothing but the clothes on his back. He had no money, he had no family, and he was completely on his own from the moment he touched down in America. He could barely be understood by anybody because of his incredibly thick accent and struggled for over a decade to make something of himself. Everything my dad has now is only because he was willing to push himself and strive for excellence. He persevered through all obstacles and, in doing so, gave rise to a beautiful family which I am proud to be a part of.

It was amazing growing up and witnessing my father’s work ethic, but at the same time it was bothersome. My father wanted to make sure that I was not solely a witness to what hard work could do, but a benefactor of it as well. That is why he instilled in me the same passion for hard work that he had made his mantra. Over the years, my dad watched over my studies and guided me to make sure that at in no point in time was I ever giving less than my best effort. It was so frustrating always having someone push you, even when it felt like you were already giving your best. However, looking back, I wouldn’t change him at all. He always told me that if I worked hard the sky would be my limit and, in time, his words became my very own.

I am now full-time college student pursuing a degree in medicine, and these words my father spoke so long ago are still the guidelines by which I live my life. They have pushed me to become the man I am today. It has not been easy working to get ahead. However, like my father, I continue to work hard in the pursuit of my dreams and refuse to give up when things do not go my way. I am not always the smartest or most talented. At times, there have been people who have even told me I could never make something of myself, but that has never stopped me from pursuing my dreams. In every situation, I refuse to be outworked and am always the individual willing to put in everything that I have. This work ethic instilled in me by my father is what helps me succeed in these difficult situations. Every day I strive to be the best I can be no matter where I find myself. There has never been an obstacle large enough to stop me from obtaining my goals, and there never will be. No matter how difficult my future may be, I am confident that I will be able to stand firm and see any situation through to the end, and I have my father to thank for that.

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