Diversity:Hi! I am struggling deciding on topics for secondary essays and was hoping I could get some feedback. There are common subjects in both of my diversity and adversity ideas, but don’t know if either are applicable or appropriate. (Sorry I know this is long! I am very appreciative of anyone’s help!!)
1. My parents divorced when I was 12 and I only lived with my mom from then until college. I had no contact with my father after age 12 and didn't receive any financial support from him. I feel that this experience of living with a single mother and seeing her struggles with balancing work and finances gave me a different perspective of the effects that stress and lack of work-life balance can have on an individual's health (she had poor mental health, and got sick often which would occasionally be prolonged for weeks due to her type 1 diabetes). I also had to learn at a young age how to help take care of her when she experienced hypoglycemic episodes due to her diabetes by getting her to consume sugar while she was mentally altered and was combative.
2. I competed on a Division 1 sports team in college that won 3 NCAA championships while I was on the team. I had the privilege of training with Olympians as well as walk-ons, all from a wide range of different socioeconomic and experience backgrounds. I felt that I had a unique experience of working with a diverse, tightly knit group towards a common goal that was difficult to reach. I have had the experience of performing under high-pressure situations (NCAA’s and Olympic Trials) knowing that my performance affected my teammates as well. I would also talk about how humbling this experience was.
1. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I had the privilege of becoming training partners with the best athlete in the world in my sport as she joined our team as a freshman. My training became dramatically harder than my freshman year and, with an increase in class difficulty as well, I really struggled my sophomore fall with confidence and performance anxiety (to the point of contemplating quitting and focusing on academics). I ended up persevering through this and worked with a sports psychologist to utilize Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to help with performance anxiety. I learned how to perform in high-pressure situations, ask for help when needed, and build my own confidence. Working through this, I went from barely qualifying for NCAA’s to becoming an All-American for each of my remaining 3 years.
2. Similar to #1 from Diversity above - I would talk about living with a single mother and having contact cut off with my father and the effect that had on my confidence, as well as how I worked through this. I could also talk about the struggle of gaining responsibility at a young age of helping my mother during her hypoglycemic episodes due to her type 1 diabetes (since my father helped her before with this). I wasn’t sure if this is too early in my life to include though.
3. I experienced burnout my freshman year in college in my sport after doing it for 14 years and not improving at all in the 5 years prior. I learned how to redirect my focus and cope with feelings of burnout to eventually love my sport again and achieve success. As I know burnout can be common in healthcare workers, I thought I could speak on my experience with burnout and the different ways in which I grew, dealt with this experience, and learned how to cope with future possible burnout experiences.
Thank you to anyone who is willing to provide feedback!!!
Your mom's illness can certainly be used for adversity, but not for diversity. I don't know that being on a division 1 sports team cuts the mustard either. It's certainly an accomplishment, and you should feature it in your application. Just not for diversity. Someone else might have another opinion about this, and it might go over quite well with some admissions committees. Just not with me.
#1 doesn't work - sounds sort of like a humblebrag and like something you excelled in, not something that was adversity.
#2, as I talked about prior, definitely works. Helping a parent out with an illness and having financial struggles definitely counts as adversity.
#3 might work, but it's hard for me to believe you experienced true adversity in your sport when you were a division 1 athlete. # 2 is better from my perspective.