I’m intelligent, passionate, hard-working, ambitious, and reflective. But none of these are my most defining characteristic. That’s my determination. Now, I’ll admit that sometimes that determination can turn into stubbornness, but there’s just something in me that won’t let me throw in the towel, no matter how difficult something is. I’ve always been this way. I grew up trying to prove to myself and others that I could do anything, no matter my size. Until the end of eighth grade, when I finally hit a growth spurt, I was always in the second percentile in weight and height for girls my age. Despite this, or maybe even because of it, I was always trying to prove that even though I was small, I was fast, smart, strong, brave, and tough. I am especially determined when it comes to things for which I am passionate. What I am most passionate about is horses. I love to ride and be around horses. Ever since I could talk, I’ve been crazy about them. My mom always said it must have been in my blood, because my fascination was completely random. I didn’t grow up anywhere near horses since we lived in the suburbs, and my parents were definitely not horse people. I have been riding for about 10 years now and I plan to continue until the day I die. As a small child, I was set on being a cowgirl. Currently, I’m competing in hunt seat. Someday, I hope to compete in top level eventing shows. As a young child, I dreamed of being a veterinarian when I grew up, because I wanted to care for and work with animals. During my first few years of high school, though, I thought I wanted to be an architect, because I fell in love with the beauty and timelessness of ancient Greek and Roman architecture and also with the idea that I, too, could create something beautiful and permanent; something to last thousands of years. Then I realized that whatever occupation I chose would determine how I would spend every day of the rest of my life. And when I tried to imagine myself sitting at a desk, in an office, wearing office attire, drawing blueprints, making calculations, and meeting other people’s deadlines, ….… I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t me at all. I couldn’t imagine waking up every day for the rest of my life and looking forward to going to a job in an office, sitting at a desk all day. So, I asked myself, “If I could do anything for a living, what would it be?” That’s easy. Ride! However, to have a successful riding career you have to be noticed. To be noticed, you have to win a lot. To win a lot, you need to show a lot. Shows, horses, and trainers cost A LOT of money……which I don’t have. I’ve decided I can still live my dream of competing, but first I need to get a job that will eventually pay enough to get me there. Specialty veterinarians are paid well, and if I specialize in horses, I’d get to work with them all day, every day. It’s a good thing I’m so determined, because it’s not going to be easy.