Winning Essay by Katianna D., Florida State University

My mother once said, “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” It all started back when I was 13 years old, the year 2014, I can still remember it like it was yesterday. “I’ll be back soon, I promise, stay focused in school and call me every day.” Who would have thought that those would be the last words that he would say to me? My brother, who had been my rock for as long as I could remember, is now nothing more than a lost memory.

In the summer of 2014, my brother was supposed to come home, but life sent him on a different journey. I vividly remembered the phone call that ultimately left my mother in pools of her own tears. “Find my baby please,” yelled my mother, as she dropped down to her knees. I quickly ran to her rescue to comfort her. I later found out that my brother had been murdered while in Haiti. The police explained to my mother that he had been tied up by multiple gang members and thrown into the middle of the ocean. I could not believe this had happened, you only hear about these types of stories in movies. The worst part of this tragic incident was that justice was not served. My brother’s murderers walked free, and his body was never recovered. What hurts, is knowing that my mother never got to bury her child.

This incident has influenced me to pursue a career in Crime Scene Investigation. What my family has been through, no other family should have to endure. As C.S. Lewis once stated, “You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” This quote outlines the aptitude I possess to make my dreams a reality. As my luminary, experiencing my older brother’s tragic death has prepared me for the future. I began to inculcate others to believe that anything is possible no matter what life may throw their way even after they hit rock bottom. I learned to challenge myself to promote positivity regardless of what strenuous circumstances I faced. This unfortunate event has allowed me to think about the kind of person that I wish to be in life.

Understanding my ultimate career goal, I am determined to use this as fuel for my fire. I am motivated to continue to connect and socialize with others whom may have similar life challenges. Forming study groups, participating in on-campus events, and using the resources that education has provided me has been an all-inclusive after the passing of my brother. I have noticed that many successes made in this world are accomplished by the ones who have continued to strive after they have encountered lost hopes and numerous amount of failures. Because of my brother, I aspire to continue to amplify my strengths, promote positivity amongst others, and get involved in both school and the community.


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