Scholarship Essay Entry – Lief W.

Along the Way
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
- Leo Tolstoy

On the rare occasion that I look into a mirror, and not just at it, I think of myself as a decent human being. I try hard to be friendly to those I don't know, and a good friend to those I do. My first year of post-secondary education taught me many lessons, however, the most persistent of which is that my actions, thus far, have not been enough. There are many things that I not only can do, but that I ought to do. My life can continue to progress towards a degree and onto a career, but that's not what I want my life to be about. This isn't to say that a person cannot better the world around them through the work that they do. Ideally, my career ambitions and world vision will set out towards a common destination, like two passengers meeting aboard a high-speed train. However, I see no reason in waiting that long to start.

Small things I do every day can make all the difference. When I see a girl selling lemonade on the corner of my street, I buy three cups, no matter how bitter the first one was. The way her face lights up might not change the world, but the moment it takes to make someone's day is too precious to pass up. This past year I've also started giving blood; I've given three times now, and each occasion I've almost unknowingly changed someone's entire existence. My goal for the next year is to sponsor a child from a famine country, helping monthly to support him or her with food, water, education, and even affection, by penning letters back and forth. I have no doubt that a grainy photograph and a few short sentences addressed to me will provoke a feeling beyond description. I also aim to participate in "5 Days for the Homeless", a charity event to raise awareness and money for the less fortunate of our community.

These are not items to be crossed off a list, like chores from a week of spring-cleaning. There is no quota or deadline, and at any given moment a new opportunity to help somebody could spring up. I am certain that my education has helped me develop these choices, aided by inspiring professors and rousing student movements.

I'm entering the second year of my BComm at the University of Alberta, with no particular career plan at all - and you know what, it doesn't matter to me in the slightest. The world is a blank sheet of paper, just waiting to be painted in vivid pastel. Each and every day I can draw new villages amidst smoldering ruins, or blossoming trees within a concrete desert. I don't yet have an overwhelming world vision to shape my life around, but I'll do what I can along the winding path that leads me there.