So, this may be a totally unrelated thread, or may give some motivation to those applicants who hope to one day attend one of the greatest institutions on the planet. My story begins with junior year of high school. I had always thought about USMA, and what a service academy could offer, but I never knew it was within reach. As is generally appropriate, I maintained good grades (not stellar!). I was not in varsity sports, I was not in any clubs, I had no clue what the SAT even involved. Here I am, at a random private school in my town, facing a document that is very foreign. After listening to mostly irrelevant instructions, I heard a que to start. Four hours later and my brain is begging for it to stop. The SAT isn't exactly my choice Saturday activity. Fastforward a month or two and I receive my SAT results: a whopping combined math and verbal score of 1200- no bueno. After some research (on these boards, but of course!), I realized that this wasn't gunna cut it. So here I am, in the middle of my junior year of high school with a decision to make: is it worth it? My schedule was something like this: Up at 6 a.m., get ready and leave the house by 7:15- I had a 45 minute one-way walk to school. Darn parents making me act independently! School wraps up and I'm off to a two hour JV tennis practice. It's about 4:15 by now and Sonic is calling my name. I had a 30 hour part time as a carhop (I'm sure all of you are interested in my limeade exploits) and would go to work immediately after tennis. It's about 10 p.m. now and I'm just getting of work. I'm tired, but don't know whether it's the 3 hours of walking I did, 2 hours of tennis, 5 hours on skates, or the few AP classes I actually had to pay attention in. The alarm clock always seemed to greet me as I entered my room. Almost taunting me to give up on the day- you've accomplished enough, right? My SAT blue book didn't exactly agree with the red 11 p.m. glaring at my face. Somehow I did it though. Upon guesstimations, I worked in that darn book for over 100 hours to hone my test-taking skills. 3 months later and school's out- I'm still at Sonic. But this Saturday isn't like the rest- I've done this before. I already know the deal- this test is going down. Nothing can stop me, but caffeine sure might help. Four hours later I find myself not quite as dazed as the first time. Returning to work brain-dead would be the conclusion of my night. News flash! I'm suddenly moving to a small town over two hours away. No biggie though- I've been here before, having attended over 13 different schools throughout my primary and secondary educational efforts. I do what is required and pack my things. Bye Dallas! The new school year is underway and I've found myself in some weird assortment of plastic. People seem angry and make sure to let me know- POP! Football practice isn't all it's cracked up to be- Thanks a lot for the missed expectations Rudy! Regardless, I knew I had to take any and all steps to strengthen my application. The school year was great, I enjoyed the good times and built some friendships. It all happened so fast! NOT including the time spent fulfilling 5 service academy applications. That's alright though, I was bound to get in! Graduation is a thing of the past and my childhood has slipped from my grasp- life begins and independent decision-making is in full swing. My vice-presidential nomination is sure to grant me an offer from West Point! It was a sad day in the household- we regret to inform you that..... I was faced with decisions; take an engineering scholarship and go to a nearby uni with a great friend, join the military along with 3 of my high school buddies who now chant nonsense only identifiable by jar-heads, or move to a completely different state to pursue my dream of serving at the finest school on the planet. I spent two weeks farting around town with my buddies- not a care in the world. The time had come to make my decision- Oklahoma here I come! I settled down into Norman where OU presides and took on the role of an IHOP server- would you like orange juice with that? Living solo wasn't so bad; I had an end goal in mind. 40 hours a week with a 14 credit hour semester wasn't exactly what I would call enjoyable- but you make sacrifices. I began to develop a greater appreciation for what my parents go through every week. Fast-forward to today. I'm speechless. How did they pick me? Senator Inhofe called to congratulate: USMA is extending me an appointment. If you would have asked me three years ago: "out of 500 high school students, do you think you'll be numero uno?," I might have given you some anecdotal reference about overcoming great odds. The truth is, this is all so crazy. For any of you who think this goal seems unfathomable, you aren't alone. I couldn't have imagined what today has brought me. Never sacrifice your integrity and ALWAYS chase your dreams- they might just be within reach.