Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Here's what I came up with:

Two of my best personal qualities have always been my intelligence and my determination. Through the combined use of the two I have been able to overcome many obstacles in my life. With my intelligence I was able to skip the first and third grade, thus having a head start as far as school. However, looking back I find that determination has been the most important of the two. Back when I was in eight grade, troubles at home began effecting my performance in school. I began to lose concern about a number of things because I thought that no matter what I was destined for failure and misery. I believed that it didn't matter how hard I tried my life would always be filled with disappointments. Once my determination started going away, I became lazier and didn't care enough to do all of my work on time.

By sophomore year of high school my constant procrastinating caused me to fail quite a few of my classes. I knew I could do better but I didn't care enough to put all my efforts into it. So I continued to fail classes for the remainder of my sophomore year and for the first semester of junior year. Towards the end of Junior year however, I decided that school was for me and that I deserved better. I decided that after dealing with all the misery and troubles in my past I deserved happiness in my life. I knew that if I ever wanted to find that happiness in my future, I would have to start taking school seriously. So I signed up for summer school classes to make up for whatever classes I could. The next year I took an extra class to make sure I would meet all the graduation requirements on time. When times got difficult I kept reminding myself that the greater the struggle, the greater the reward for it. And I was rewarded for my determination in the end; May 19th 2009 I became the youngest person in my family to graduate from high school.

At my graduation party, a dear friend of mine told me, "chase your dreams, live your life, and be happy, no matter what obstacles stand in your way." Those words have stuck in my head ever since, and I will follow them until the day I die. I have many dreams to chase and my determination will be the fuel for the fire I need to burn a path to my dreams. With hope and determination I can put my other abilities, such as my intelligence, to good use. I learned that it doesn't matter how smart one is, how quickly they can learn, or even how much work they can do unless they also have the determination to make use of those abilities.