College application essay

When re-applying to college, I had to write a 250-650 word essay. The prompt asked me to write about something that happened to me, either academically or personally, and what it taught me. I was asked to include if the event was a challenge or success, if it represented a turning point for me, and/or how it will impact my college education. Below, I copy and pasted what I wrote.

My college essay

The journey to finishing my college degree begins where I left off. I had just completed the first semester of my senior year, which I spent studying abroad in Ghana. Those four months were transformative for me; I discovered my desire to learn to cook, make clothes, and treasure the important things in life. But, I knew that pursuing those things came with sacrifice.
Following the semester, I was not in the right mental state. The overwhelming urge to shift my life was my driving force, and the stress of another academic year would’ve been impossible to bear. I moved in with my grandma, who lived in northern [state]. Our relationship flourished, and I began my cooking and sewing ventures.
Later that summer, I relocated to my dad’s house in [current city]. Over the course of several months, we became very close, and I discovered why I am the way I am. That semester in Ghana stayed with me the whole time, and I sought out the culture wherever I could. Soon enough, Google led me to an African grocery store a few miles away, and that completely changed my life. Not only did the community of Africans make me feel at home, but I met an incredible man who worked behind the counter.
Fast forward three years. That man and I were married, and I had just replaced him working at the grocery store. In that time, he paid the bills while I pursued my interests. I transformed the second bedroom of our apartment into an atelier, mastered the art of kitchen management, read thought-provoking books, and taught myself coding. Life was good, but I knew there was more out there; it was unrealistic for me to live this life forever, and those around me voiced their opinion of my wasted talents.
Then, on an ordinary Thursday, a Ghanaian man walked into the store. He claimed to know my husband quite well, and was a friend of the store’s owner. The question regarding my education status came up, and I felt compelled to admit my incomplete degree. As I explained my situation, he kept repeating that I should go back and finish. However, I wasn’t quite convinced. I hoped the story of how I met my husband and ended up at the store would appease him, but he insisted on the importance of education.
As we spoke about school, I told him of my travels to Ghana. It didn’t take long for us to realize I stayed in the same dorm that he met his wife. We reminisced about the places around campus, realizing we engaged in many of the same activities, only years apart.
Once he left the store, I was still smiling. He not only made me feel encouraged, but also understood. He had been to a place so special yet so obscure, the chances of him coming in when he did were slim to none. As I sat there, phone in hand, I typed ‘[university name]’ into the search bar. I had previously considered attending the [current city] campus, but never thought of venturing to [university city], a mere 24 minutes away from me. So, I looked it up. And, I found exactly what I was searching for: a college of business economics degree. It seemed extremely similar to my program at [city of previous university], and that’s how I ended up here.
The decision to delay my degree was a challenging one, as every single person told me it was the wrong move. My family and mentors emphasized the importance to finish, but I couldn’t be swayed. Looking back, I know the same thing now that I knew then: I made the right decision. With the skills I have now and my husband by my side, I know I can finish what I started. But, this time, I have a solid foundation and a desire to reach the end.

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