Name: Jesspal Bachhal
Major: Pre-Physical Therapy
Hometown: Joliet, Illinois
Committee: Engaged Learning/ Civic Engagement
I write this vignette in purpose of trying to establish common grounds with anyone who wishes to continue their education and is worried that the road is longer than they first sought it out to be. Hopefully this short paper on my previous history with schooling and motivation may help spark the drive again into all of you to want to continue to becoming successful beings not only at NIU but in the world as well.
I first would like to just say, that quotes have been major driving factors into what has created this indescribable feeling inside me that makes me want to be better than the day before. I once read, “If your dreams aren’t scaring you, they aren’t big enough” on the back of man’s t-shirt as me and a couple of buddies strolled around aimlessly throughout the Louis Joliet Mall (with no cash may I add). We were all seventeen at the time and most of my friends did not care to extend their education into college. As for me, I always dreamt of being a doctor and knew I needed schooling, but money was tight in my household, so I repressed the thoughts of going past high school and started to accept the fact that another career is in store for me. These friends of mine and I fit well together because we were the troubling sort at school; always joking in class and giving teachers a hard time in and out of the class.
Near December, anxiety grew. I found myself having panic attacks in class because the future scared me near to death. I was sent to see my guidance counselor (not the nurse) and she recognized that I had the potential to continue my dream to going to college even though I didn’t have the money. She tried explaining scholarships and how I could write papers to compete for one, but it felt like extra work for nothing. She finally said to look into R.O.T.C. which is the Army’s Reserved Officer Training Corp. She continued to talk, but nothing struck until she said “Full-Ride”. Instantly I was interested. Military was thought to be my only option, but now I had the option to pursuit both a military career and schooling. I checked the standards to what it takes to receive a full ride scholarship from Uncle Sam and the requirements felt far especially since the deadline was in three months. I weighed in at 125 pounds and stood 5 feet and 11 inches. My weight was way under the minimum and I could barely complete any push-ups or sit-ups. I began to hit the gym and made new friends who also had big scary dreams that they wished to tackle. Within the three months I weighed in at 155lbs at the same height, took my test, and felt amazing. I received my paper from the scholarship folks and was denied. I was crushed. All my work felt like it went down the drain. My new friends at the gym called that day, and I broke the news to them, but they weren’t upset for me they were mad at me. They were upset that I was willing to give up on myself again. They came to my house and pushed me back into wanting to get up. They gave me a new goal to shoot for: prove the people that sent me this letter wrong. Prove to them that I am someone that they want, and that I do indeed deserve a second chance. Within my first year, I found myself on eight organizations (Northern Light Ambassadors, Lambda Sigma Honor Society, to name a few), a cumulative GPA of 3.8, and a three year scholarship winner from the ROTC program.
Within one year, I endure the most hardships of my life physically, emotionally, and mentally. I lost one of my best friends and found the strength to push through my mental and physical barriers, and overall completed the first biggest goal of my life; and it amazes me to just think back to the day of receiving that paper in the mail. What If I didn’t continue to hold my head up high and keep dreaming big, even if I was scared?