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Winning Essay

Lori Trant
New Hampshire Community Technical College
Nashua, NH
(Instructor: Kathleen L. Hunt)

Personal Excellence a Legacy for Future Generations

The success that I strive for in my life is based on my drive to achieve excellence, whether in the classroom or in my family. In fact, for the past twenty five years I dedicated my time and energy to raising four children. Just as every mother recalls the joy of those early years, I also recall being exhausted, frustrated, and alone as my husband concentrated on building his business and our financial security. While there were times when I doubted my sanity and purpose, I never gave up because my children depended on me to love and care for them. My life ambition at that time was to encourage my children to do their best, the same thing my mother had decided was important to provide for me.

Sadly, my mother died at the age of 42 from ovarian cancer, a disease that has affected most of the females in my family. Realizing the odds were very high that I, too, would have this cancer gene passed down to me, I hid my fears and tried to plan my life accordingly. I started my family at the age of 21, hoping to accomplish that which my mother was denied - seeing her children become successful adults. When my youngest turned 17, I was thankful for reaching my milestone of raising a family and sharing my life.

Much has been learned about genetic diseases during the last decade, so it was not surprising that my physician approached me recently and suggested I undergo genetic testing. In July of this year, it was revealed that I did not carry the deadly cancer gene after all. It seemed as though I was immediately unshackled from my fears of an early death. I was suddenly reborn and given a second chance to accomplish my dream of earning a college education and pursuing a career I had once thought impossible.

Enrolling at college stirred many feelings within me: Excitement! Could I actually pursue my dream of a college education? Fear! Could I learn the curriculum after being out of school for 28 years? Hesitancy! Would my husband of 24 years accept the changes I was suggesting to our relationship? Silliness! What would I have in common with eighteen year olds? Would I walk the halls alone? Would I be ignored? The rush of emotions was overwhelming, but my desire to embark on a new chapter of my life, created such enthusiasm within me that I knew I had to begin.

My first step was to learn how to integrate my college schedule with my demands of family life, and obtain the financing to enroll as a full-time student. While I was hopeful, I knew I had to develop some study and learning strategies to be successful. I did my reading assignments, sat in my classes and took lecture notes, always captivated by the knowledge available to me. I soon realized, I was a visual learner and incorporated new strategies and techniques including retyping my notes and making flash cards to aid in my academic success. My studying paid off and my efforts in the classroom contributed to my growing confidence that I could achieve my goals.

After completion of my college studies, I hope to begin my career in human services, using the same vigor and drive for excellence that my mother instilled in me so long ago. My own experiences have taught me the importance of goal setting, and using your passion to open the doors of personal success. I hope to help others discover how to deal with obstacles, because once discovered, life becomes open to any accomplishment imaginable. In many ways, my new life ambition is an extension of my experiences as a mother, as a lifelong learner, and as a woman faced with the challenges of self-discovery. For me, my success has been the journey to understand the person I had become and the person I wanted to be. When I look at my reflection, I now see a woman that has faced many challenges in her life, but who, in the process of striving for excellence, has learned the value of lifelong learning both in the classroom and in my personal relationships. Hopefully, my strategies for success will be my legacy to my children, to serve as an example to pursue life with a desire to achieve the passion within each of us.