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A Sample Scholarship Essay From Someone With Asperger's Syndrome

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As you deliberate your way through mounds of scholarship essays, searching for the individual most deserving of your award, my essay may serve as an atypical, perhaps eye-opening, application: I am not the most well-rounded individual. Please don’t discount me until I’ve had a chance to explain.

I have Asperger’s syndrome. Predominately, for me, this means I am hyper-focused on one aspect of learning and give little care to other things. My friends play soccer, volunteer once a week, and play an instrument flawlessly. Me? I study medicine. I read a copious volume of medical literature, from personal memoirs to the Medical Encyclopedia, to the Drug Guide and everything in between.

I am the least coordinated gym student, most musically illiterate band student, but I excel in my area of passion for which I’m coming to your university to study.

One night a few weeks ago, as I exited a convenience store, I noticed a man “sleeping” on a chair outside a coffee shop. My brain instantly thought, “His chest isn’t rising and falling.” Most people would not be in tune to noticing if a supposedly sleeping man’s chest was rising and falling. I knew what to do. My extensive first aid training and medical knowledge kicked in. I sent someone to get an AED. I checked for pupil dilation, pulse, signs of respiration, and levels of consciousness. The paramedics were 20 minutes away, and I had to keep the man alive, which I did successfully because of my knowledge in handling emergencies. My Asperger’s may have saved a life.

I live each day to help others. I volunteer in the emergency department sitting with lonely people; I raise money for the local children’s hospital, The Parkinson’s Society, and the local homeless shelter. My passion is to see people thrive, and I desire to be a doctor so I can be a catalyst in helping others achieve wellness.

I also have chronic anxiety and clinical depression. These lifelong battles have made me an empath, able to resonate with others on a deep level. I believe this trait makes me an asset to your institution. Who better to care for the sick than the person who knows what it’s like, not just from medical jargon in a textbook but on an actual personal level?

My soul craves human connections and real relationships, both of which are harder for me to accomplish because of my social disconnect. I don’t need easy, I need possible. I don’t allow my diagnoses to define me or limit me. Know that every morning I wake up fighting for deep, meaningful relations with those around me. Know that I fight through
cracks, crevices, and disconnects in my brain’s neurons to pursue life. I will likely be your school’s strongest mental health advocate, disability warrior, and social justice fighter because those issues are where my whole heart lies.

So maybe I’m not the best-rounded applicant you have. Maybe I haven’t tapped into every opportunity that’s ever been in my reach, mainly because it didn’t interest me. Maybe I don’t have flowery reference letters from 100 different faculties.

Passion, sometimes, isn’t scriptable on a transcript or a resume.

Honestly, I won’t involve myself in every society and club your campus offers. I don’t waste my time pursuing opportunities that bore me just to say “I did it.” Know that what I do involve myself in, I will invest my whole heart in, including my studies.

My name is Lola, and I have Asperger’s syndrome.

My name is Lola, and I will be the most passionate medical student you’ve seen in a long time.

And that is why I believe I am deserving of your scholarship.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by PongsakornJun

Originally published: January 14, 2017
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