Plagued with cerebral palsy, Melissa was one of hundreds of adults with special needs who came that night for an evening of food, games, and dancing. I volunteered to accompany one of the guests as her date throughout the night’s various activities. The evening culminated in an hour or two on the dance floor, where I rocked and swayed Melissa to the sound of “Tiny Dancer,” and helped move her arms to the shouts of “Y-M-C-A!” It was one of the most memorable nights of my life, and I spent more than an hour of it standing in line, desperately trying to find a way out.
Looking back on that night, it is startling that I ended up volunteering as one of the guests’ dates. Whereas friends and family have always been quick to label me an overly confident extrovert, I spent years putting on a facade to hide a boy riddled with insecurities. Always finding myself the smallest, scrawniest boy in my class quickly wore out what confidence I had. Being t...
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...s to profitability in less than two months. My life has never been a question about whether or not I will succeed—it has been a question about whether or not I will try; a question about whether or not I can face my self-doubt and confront situations my instincts tell me to avoid.
My decision to pursue a career that fulfills my long-standing interest in law is the answer to that question. I find myself thinking about my future with the same spirit I felt that night I took Melissa out on the dance floor—one that is eager and excited at the journey before me. I am not the same pale-faced boy who stood at the end of the line, knees shaking in anxious fear at what might be coming. The moments I shared with Melissa that night helped shatter my debilitating insecurity, and I have since found that my belief in myself is rivaled only by my passion for realizing my potential.
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