Hi guys. I am a rising senior and have started writing essays for my nominations. I just wanted to post it here and see if any experienced alumni or anyone else can give me tips on how to improve my essay. Thanks! EDIT: I was asked to write about what makes me a good candidate for the Naval Academy and I decided to write about my perseverance, dedication, and hard-working character in my essay. Also, the maximum length of the essay was to be no more than 2 pages. The cheers echoed in the background. I could barely stand, as if my legs were made of rubber. I watched as the starter reloaded his gun with blanks. I could hear my heart beating - growing louder and louder as each second seemed like an hour. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the starter motioned for us to get ready. I positioned myself in the starting block, breathing deeply to calm myself. I looked at my coach one last time as she gave me a wink, telling me I was going to do fine. I closed my eyes and all the sounds that echoed throughout the track suddenly stopped. All I could hear were my heartbeat and my breath. Time slowed as I stayed ready, waiting for the starter to pull the trigger, waiting to hear the familiar sound of the gun that would tell me to start running. Finally, I heard it. My legs instinctively pushed off the blocks as the crack of the gun reverberated throughout the track. I pushed myself harder than I had ever before as my legs took me over the first hurdle, then the next, then the next, until finally, I had finished – I had finished my first district race. Track & field had never been of particular interest to me because I had played soccer for many years and I considered that to be my only sport; however, when I first saw track & field at Oakton HS, I was instantly hooked. The sport looked so pure – no cheating, no arguing – just your heart, dedication, and effort that you showed in races around the track. Although I was the fastest runner in my class during elementary and middle school, I quickly realized that I was nowhere near the level that I thought I was on compared to other high school athletes. However, I set a goal to be on the varsity team. I persevered, practicing with the varsity team even though I could not hit the times that they were running; and on most days, I would do two workouts – training with the sprinters first and then training with the mid distance runners after. Being the only athlete on the team to do this, most people told me I was crazy; however, persevering and working hard for two years, I finally got my chance and was able to compete at the district meet during my junior year. Using this same dedication, I am determined to rise to the top at the United States Naval Academy and shine as the military leader that I believe the Naval Academy will help me achieve.