If you told me I would be playing a sport called squash at 11 years old, I would call you crazy. But in seventh grade, I was at a new school 10 times bigger than my last one. I felt like a little fish in a big pond. I was quiet, withdrawn, and very introverted. A lot of the time, I stayed where I was comfortable.
During the first week of school, a group of people visited the school and they introduced themselves as Squashbusters. At that time, I’d only heard of Squash once before, but I didn’t really know what it was. Because the program combined the sport of squash with academic support, mentoring, and service opportunities, I decided to sign up. It’s been six years and this program has made a monumental difference in my life.
Being a part of SquashBusters is a program that really pushed me out of my shell to the point where I’ve grown accustomed to challenging myself. In SquashBusters, they tell us to push ourselves past our limits on the squash courts, but that mindset has transferred to other areas of my life as well. From team trips and tournaments to cringy karaoke moments and participating in eccentric traditions like our annual SquashBusters Olympics, my comfort zone has steadily grown larger. My peers brought out a side of me I didn’t even know existed. I haven’t transformed completely from introvert to extrovert, but I’ve become more social as the years go by.
At Hopkins, I want to do something similar. I want to try new things and embrace the campus traditions. Even though I will develop intellectually from the many academic classes and clubs/activities offered on campus, I feel as though a true community is birthed from exploring beyond what one’s used to. From traditions like Blue Jay Opening Day and the Spring Fair to the many world-changing clubs like the Amnesty International club and the Foreign Affairs Symposium, the different ways to be involved in the Hopkins community is limitless and invigorating and I can’t wait to be a part of the Hopkins family.
Admissions Committee Comments
Samuel’s essay is a reflection on pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone which is not only an important life lesson but also something that Hopkins students do every day. Our students push the boundaries of discovery, are faced with challenges in and out of the classroom, and pursue newfound passions. By growing accustomed to challenging himself, Samuel exemplifies these characteristics and is able to take the lessons he has learned on the squash court into other areas of his life. He shows that if given the opportunity, he would flourish on our campus given the variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities and that he is equipped with the tools to overcome whatever challenges he is faced with.
Samuel, Boston, Massachusetts
“My advice to students who are currently writing their essays is to remember that the first draft is rarely going to be good, so just write as much as you can even if it’s incomprehensible. Also give yourself a lot of time for revisions from peers, teachers, and even self revisions.”