PERSONAL STORIES

COLLEGE ESSAY

PERSONAL STORIES

COLLEGE ESSAY

My AP Life

My life has been an Advanced Placement course. I have pushed, stretched and challenged myself beyond limits for as long as I can remember. I have had to work twice as hard as most students on topics that may seem simple. Let me tell you my story of struggle and success—the AP Life course of Matthew Kelly.

My struggles began shortly after birth. As a newborn, I was very sick and required spinal taps and multiple surgeries. By two and a half, I had not yet learned to talk, did not recognize my name, nor did I play with other children. At three years old, I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Autism) and ADHD.

My life has been an advanced placement course because I have had to overcome the difficulties associated with my disability. Every step, from learning to play, to learning to read and write, has been a challenge for me. Even team sports have been hard work. I am a natural athlete with great speed and hand- eye coordination. I have always loved baseball and had to learn to work as part of a team. This was not easy at first, but with hard work and determination, I became a great athlete and teammate.

My success as a student at Wilton High School results from the extra work I have done throughout my lifetime. I have made the academic honor roll each semester at a high school ranked as one of the best in the country. I have worked hard to develop my self-advocacy skills: skills that require me to understand and communicate my strengths and weaknesses. Also, I have formed strong friendships and enjoy running on the Wilton High School Track and Cross Country teams. Through WHS True Warriors, I use what I know through my life struggles to help young athletes with similar disabilities learn to play baseball.

Although I have experienced success in high school, I wanted to experience student life away from home. This past June, I attended Syracuse University’s Summer College Team and Leadership Academy. During the two-week program, I was physically and mentally challenged. I had to adjust to living away from family, manage my time, care for myself, and meet new people. As part of the academy training, I had to maneuver through the university’s challenge course, which required me to face my fear of heights. Most of the challenge course required teamwork involving balancing platforms and using pulley systems. I had to walk across two thin wires, which was terrifying, but I was able to stay calm and control my emotions. Once I was done, I felt a sense of accomplishment because I completed a task that many people would have avoided.

Now that the high school AP course of my life is coming to a close, I am prepared and eager to start my future at a post secondary institution. Through strong work and determination, I have developed skills and strategies to conquer any adverse situation or challenge that crosses my path. As an athlete, I have had the opportunity to form friendships and participate in team sports. I am a kind, hard working student who loves baseball, track and family. Overall, I feel that I have aced the AP course of my life.

Matthew Kelly, a graduate of Wilton High School, is a sophomore IT major at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (The Syracuse University iSchool). Through his hard work and determination, along with the support of family, friends and so many professionals along the way, he has overcome his ASD diagnosis. His ADHD has served him well and has provided him with the focus and energy he needs to do the things he loves. In his spare time, Matt enjoys skiing, running, hiking, golfing, playing basketball, following all things sports and hanging out with his Westie terrier, Rey.

My AP Life

My life has been an Advanced Placement course. I have pushed, stretched and challenged myself beyond limits for as long as I can remember. I have had to work twice as hard as most students on topics that may seem simple. Let me tell you my story of struggle and success—the AP Life course of Matthew Kelly.

My struggles began shortly after birth. As a newborn, I was very sick and required spinal taps and multiple surgeries. By two and a half, I had not yet learned to talk, did not recognize my name, nor did I play with other children. At three years old, I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Autism) and ADHD.

My life has been an advanced placement course because I have had to overcome the difficulties associated with my disability. Every step, from learning to play, to learning to read and write, has been a challenge for me. Even team sports have been hard work. I am a natural athlete with great speed and hand- eye coordination. I have always loved baseball and had to learn to work as part of a team. This was not easy at first, but with hard work and determination, I became a great athlete and teammate.

My success as a student at Wilton High School results from the extra work I have done throughout my lifetime. I have made the academic honor roll each semester at a high school ranked as one of the best in the country. I have worked hard to develop my self-advocacy skills: skills that require me to understand and communicate my strengths and weaknesses. Also, I have formed strong friendships and enjoy running on the Wilton High School Track and Cross Country teams. Through WHS True Warriors, I use what I know through my life struggles to help young athletes with similar disabilities learn to play baseball.

Although I have experienced success in high school, I wanted to experience student life away from home. This past June, I attended Syracuse University’s Summer College Team and Leadership Academy. During the two-week program, I was physically and mentally challenged. I had to adjust to living away from family, manage my time, care for myself, and meet new people. As part of the academy training, I had to maneuver through the university’s challenge course, which required me to face my fear of heights. Most of the challenge course required teamwork involving balancing platforms and using pulley systems. I had to walk across two thin wires, which was terrifying, but I was able to stay calm and control my emotions. Once I was done, I felt a sense of accomplishment because I completed a task that many people would have avoided.

Now that the high school AP course of my life is coming to a close, I am prepared and eager to start my future at a post secondary institution. Through strong work and determination, I have developed skills and strategies to conquer any adverse situation or challenge that crosses my path. As an athlete, I have had the opportunity to form friendships and participate in team sports. I am a kind, hard working student who loves baseball, track and family. Overall, I feel that I have aced the AP course of my life.

Matthew Kelly, a graduate of Wilton High School, is a sophomore IT major at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (The Syracuse University iSchool). Through his hard work and determination, along with the support of family, friends and so many professionals along the way, he has overcome his ASD diagnosis. His ADHD has served him well and has provided him with the focus and energy he needs to do the things he loves. In his spare time, Matt enjoys skiing, running, hiking, golfing, playing basketball, following all things sports and hanging out with his Westie terrier, Rey.

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