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Man of the Year
"You have just been named the 2015 Man/Woman of the Year. For what achievement are you being honored, and how did your college education help you reach your goal?"
A well-dressed sell-out crowd fills the enormous auditorium: an auditorium with gigantic spotlights that rival the energy and luminosity of the sun. My eyes follow the lights to the well-dressed host on the stage as he exclaims: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2015 Man of the Year Awards!"
The audience erupts into an applause that shakes the walls of the building, and I add a few whistles and hollers of my own. As the roar dwindles into silence, we take our seats and the host presents last year's winner, who will in turn present this year's award to the Man of the Year.
My eyes dart around the room spotting celebrities, professional athletes, CEOs, and other overqualified applicants, and previous winners, but my envious search ends as the host passes on the microphone to last year's winner.
"Ladies and Gentleman," begins the speaker, "here is the moment you've all been waiting for." The speaker takes a step back, responding to the force of the innumerable silent eyes now turned on him. He begins opening the envelope...
"This year's winner is..." a final tear, and out comes the coveted document, "Sam Cosby!"
Like the silence before a sneeze, a hush falls over the crowd before a riotous cheer fills the air. I stand up and my legs begin to carry me toward the stage as the announcer continues, "Many of you may not know Mr. Cosby, but he has made remarkable advances in the realm of biotechnology. He has received this award for his development of a revolutionary prosthetic limb repair system that can replace not only a lost appendage, but synthesize the lost nerves, creating a new fully functional arm or leg."
I completed my journey to the stage and shook the speaker's hand before taking my place at the microphone. "I would like to thank my family for all of their support," I began, kicking myself for my lack of originality, but I continued, "and all of my teachers. I never would have made it this far had I not been pressured to continue in my studies by my professors.
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The light laughter of the audience makes me relax. After taking a breath, I suddenly remember something, "and I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone what I have learned from school, especially college: No matter how insignificant you may think you are, you have a great impact on the world. I am living proof. Thank you."
As I return home I realize that no matter how etched this memory will be in my mind, it is not this night that matters -- it is what I did to get here. This award means nothing without the work behind it, so I must not forget the true reward of my work: a benefit to mankind.