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Tar Heel Traveler

College Essays



Writing Prompt: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.


Word Count: 455


When I was in the sixth grade, for a moment, I thought I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I had probably played a thousand pickup neighborhood football, basketball, hockey, and soccer games since I could walk. I had no reason to think this evening would be any different. I broke my left femur playing a neighborhood game of football in the snow after a major ice storm hit Raleigh that January.


A loud snap rang out as if a pine tree had fallen in the woods. Everyone thought we had broken a sheet of ice. I suddenly turned pale as the snow on the ground and went into shock. I was carried out of my next-door neighbor’s yard and was rushed to the emergency room. Dr. Lyman Smith, the team doctor for the Carolina Hurricanes, just happened to be at the hospital that night. He told us, with a grave expression on his face, that we would need to operate right away, and I would receive a fourteen-inch stainless steel plate and twelve screws in my leg. The gravity of the situation just hit me like a train, and I had never been more scared in my life. My dad called my pediatrician, who told my father that he would trust his own son to Dr. Smith.


After I woke up from the surgery, I found a seemingly endless array of get-well cards, flowers, pictures, movies, and candy. Before my surgery, I was rather quiet, less-than-willing to meet new people, had only a small group of friends, and went to a small private school. I felt a wave of emotion come over me, like a rainstorm, as I grasped what my friendship meant to other people. Members of my church came to visit, friends from the neighborhood and school came as well. Teachers made special accommodations for my schedule, and friends came by daily to drop off homework and check on me. 


This event made an impact in my life, not because I broke my leg, or spent nine weeks on crutches, or underwent two surgeries to fix my leg, but because it helped me understand who my friends really are. Now, I make a point to make new friends, I strive to make good grades in school, and invite friends over for study sessions at my house before tests. Granted, I may still be a little nervous in some situations, or less outgoing towards some groups in high school, but this event has caused me to actively become a more outgoing person and let my friends know that I would look out for them in the same way my middle school friends did for me six years ago. 

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