Here are the winning ($2,000) and runner-up ($200) essays for the February 2017 round of the $2k for 2,000 Words Scholarship Comp.
Thanks for all the entries. We received around 500.
The winning essay is "Their Faces" by Kayleigh Guthrie.
As a reminder, the theme was "Just Do It" and applicants were asked to respond to this video:
~ by Kayleigh Guthrie, who is studying English with Pikes Peak Community College
The biggest personal goal that I have had since I was eight years is old is to one day become the best high school English teacher in the world. This may seem like an unrealistic or vague objective to pursue; however, I think that it can be achieved by constantly thinking of my future students.
I really hope that doesn’t sound weird. What I mean to say is that the way in which I intend on achieving this goal is by envisioning all of the lives that my job will allow me to help.
For instance, when I feel discouraged because I have to face a monstrous exam, or study until I go cross-eyed, I will try to picture all of the faces of these people I don’t know yet who I will hopefully educate, inspire, and ultimately give as much of myself to as possible. I will picture beaming successful adults looking at me and saying, “Because of you, I realized I can do anything.”
Don't Try - Do
~ by AshleyStrives, who is studying Bachelors in Communications with the University of Phoenix
It can be easy to throw your hands up and tell yourself that it's too hard; to give in to all the voices saying you can't. It's easy to say "well, I did my best" or "I tried." Here's the thing, though; if you honestly did your BEST, you would have succeeded. You are a creature with limitless potential, and can do anything if you give it everything you have.
There was a point in time where I had given up on school, on love and even tried giving up on life. The circumstances following forced me to start over, and it was hard. It was the most challenging thing I have ever endured, but I did it. I came out the other side, and I am stronger and better for it.
Right now, I work full time and am enrolled in school online maintaining a 4.0 GPA. It isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
Start replacing your can'ts with cans. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you're worth it. Map out a plan for your life and follow it relentlessly. Don't give up now; the best is yet to come.
First Dream Completed, on to the Second
~ by LMS197, who is studying a BA English with the University of Phoenix
After having two kids, my dream was to be a police officer. After many trials and obstacles, I made that dream into a reality. My next dreams are to be a detective and to be able to teach law enforcement. The question is, how do I make that happen?
First, I stop thinking about it and start working at it. I enrolled back into college and am getting my English degree. I decided it was time to stop being complacent and make something more out of myself.
I am only 24 years old and have done so much so far, but I still have leaps and bounds to go before I am satisfied. I will continue to create more dreams every time I reach one.
Your dreams can only be reached if you are willing to work hard for them. I do this for myself and for my kids. If I stop working toward my dreams, they will never know how to strive to reach theirs. I will always work hard and teach my kids the same values. Reaching for the stars is a reality if you’re willing to put in the work to get there.
Thank you, Shia LeBeouf
~ by Monica, who wants to study Humanities with the University of Phoenix
As much as I loved Even Stevens, I never thought I’d gleam any sort of inspiration from Louis Stevens, and yet, here we are. I am a 36-year-old, overweight, single woman who has quit more things than I can even begin to count. When I hit play on that video I laughed, then I smiled, then it got real. “If you’re tired of starting over, quit giving up.” Get out of my head, Shia LeBeouf!
It is time for me to get my life on track. I have finally taken the steps to go back to school and get my degree, but I know my health is also important. Tonight I sat down to apply for scholarships, proud of myself for taking these steps, and Shia LeBeouf told me it wasn’t enough.
I have struggled with weight all my life. I’ve had gym memberships and trainers. I’ve done the meetings and shakes and meal plans. Today I am starting over for the last time. I will break out my running shoes, and start with a walk. It will be hard, and I will hate it. But every day I will hate it less and less. Thank you, Shia LeBeouf!
Doing It (More or Less)
~ by Elyce Mankewich, who is studying English (Honours) with the University of Winnipeg
"Just Do It". The famous words spoken by Shia LaBeouf. Influential, yet made fun of. What I took as a joke, soon started to set in. I realized that maybe I, maybe everyone, should listen to Mr. LaBeouf. Why do we not pursue our dreams and goals? What scares us away from that? Perhaps imminent failure, but what is progress without failure? We should do the things that scare us, because the scary parts only last for so long. After they pass, we are left with accomplishment, even if those accomplishments are not how we first imagined they would turn out.
My goal, one of many, is to write a novel. A hefty task, a scary task. Getting published is hard, writing something good, maybe even harder. To me, it is worth the headaches and the sleepless, coffee-filled nights. The writing and deleting, the editing and the reading. To make that happen, I mean, I will of course have to write. But I also plan on setting time aside each day to write, even if that means waking up an hour early or going to bed an hour later. I want to do something that means a lot to me. If I can write something that will mean something to the reader, that will have an impact, I will have accomplished something.
So, I will just do it. I will keep writing, every day, until I have something worthy of putting out there in the world. I will hope that someone will read my work, and take something meaningful out of it. And, even if the novel does not get published, I will still have written one, which ultimately, is my goal in the end. To prove to myself that I can do it. I can write something, and it will mean something to me.