How 5 High School Students’ Medical Obstacles Made Them Stronger

July 08, 2016

Many students take their health for granted. For these 5 students, hailing from UChicago, Harvard, Stanford, Northeastern and MIT, overcoming a medical obstacle was a formative life experience they addressed in their application essays.


Stanford University ‘20

There is a beauty in pushing my physical abilities to their limits, and it is this very unique beauty that motivates me to run marathons. I understand, however, that no matter how much I train, no matter how well I think I am prepared, running a marathon will never be easy. Rarely in my life have I so wanted to lie on the ground, curl into a ball, and quit as much as I wanted to after reaching mile twenty of my first marathon. Some people may not understand why I put myself through this, why I would go through so much strain for little tangible reward. Though the work required is daunting, the inspiration I have derived from my mom has helped me overcome obstacles I previously believed to be insurmountable. View full profile


University of Chicago ‘20

A year later, after re-learning the art of walking, working through countless hours of physical therapy, and gradually increasing classes back on campus instead of at home, I was packing my bags for Italy.  It was time again to go abroad, experience a new culture, and learn a new language.  Despite the severe car accident, the Mexico trip had only whetted my appetite for international immersion.  I figured all of my bad luck for about the next twenty years was used up, and when I was accepted to School Year Abroad (with a substantial scholarship) I couldn’t believe my luck. A year spent learning Italian—and eating gelato—would be a dream come true. Continue reading


Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘17

As I limped off the court on that momentous day, I envisioned my own personal horror story becoming reality: a reality in which I had to give up the thing I loved most. But I refused to let my injury define me. I worked hard to get back to playing, and returned to claim a starting spot on my varsity team for my last two years. My journey taught me lessons off the court that will guide me through the rest of my life. It taught me to dedicate myself fully to everything I do and to fight to achieve my goals, my aspirations, my dreams. It taught me to always keep going. View full profile.


Harvard University ‘17

With all of the complex problems facing the world today, diverse thinkers are required to come up with solutions no one had previously imagined.  My uncertain beginning has allowed me to grasp the significance of my life and inspired me to repay a deep debt of gratitude to the medical field as a biomedical engineer.   I am prepared to take every opportunity to gain an education that will outlast my time within the walls of a university by not only studying a wide breadth of topics, but also by building strong relationships with my professors and peers to gain practical knowledge that could make all the difference in changing someone’s life like mine was transformed seventeen years ago.  I did not change as a result of this significant life experience; instead, I gained the vitality that has allowed me to grow into the person I am today.  I know no different, this is just who I am. Read on


Northeastern University ‘19

I missed the feeling of being useful and quickly became frustrated with my newfound idleness. Helping out with the garden restoration project was not going to be possible; too much heavy lifting and moving around involved. The monthly beach cleanups were out of the question, too. Most events involved attending and physically partaking in the activities, and that was precisely what I could no longer do. I did not want to “take it easy”, I wanted to do something. I was bent on being engaged and participating in something, so I started to research. Continue reading

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Hi! Harvard senior (brother in class of '19 here as well) studying Economics and East Asian Studies while journalism, wood design, dance, baseball, cultural, & professional groups.

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