"A warm hotdog in hand. I stand in the front doorway of my aunt's house. This is it," I think. "This is my last chance." Having missed the application window last year due to a concussion, I had debated for weeks whether or not to at all this year. I knew that even if I received a "yes" from every school I applied to this year, there was still a chance of not getting in due, in part, to a high volume of applicants. And rather than stressing myself out over it during the first few weeks of summer break, I decided to spend that time playing video games with friends.

But then one day I woke up and realized that my aunt was going to be leaving and tying the knot with her boyfriend, I knew that I may have to disconnect with the only family I have and I am now forced to stand on my own two feet and fend for myself.

I am out of the luxury lap of foster care.

I took a deep breath and reached forward for the door when something clattered in my backpack: my calculus workbook. It was still opened to page 42 where we were solving indefinite integrals today. I heard my teacher's voice in my head: "Make sure you finish your math book before the end of the semester. You never know what might come up this summer."

Math has always intrigued me; It was difficult but challenging and I was always good at it. Plus, I've always digged deep into mathematical proofs and asked a ton of questions about theorems and sub-theorems. I've even caught my math teacher off guard, and he has actually sought out help from the principal on my behalf.

I felt a spark, not unlike the one I had experienced when I was playing air guitar in the garage with my friends (for those who don't know, that is quite awesome). It was a new hope and a new vision for my future. And although there was no way that I could leave for school in the two weeks before my aunt left for good, it didn't mean things couldn't happen during the summer; it just meant they would have to be a little more aggressive than by their very nature allow themselves to be at this time of year.

This is the reason why I applied to Upenn - first, to further my interest in math, and secondly, for survival; my own survival. I know that if I do not pursue my own education, and leave it up to others to make decisions for me, I will be left behind. And even if this is a long shot for me, it is something that I cannot give up on. I believe that investing in my own education was worth putting time and effort in, plus, having to fund tuition myself (my aunt isn't helping) makes me motivated to make every cent from my paycheck count.

It is a little shocking to write as I prepare this college essay for you, but my personal recount of the motivations to why I want to apply to university, get educated, and earn a bachelor's felt good. Good to know that I had followed through with it and I wasn't wasting any more time trying to figure out what school I should apply to.

The thought of leaving the house not long after my aunt and not coming back made me sick to my stomach, but at least I am in control of my life now and can make decisions for myself.

Word count: 615 words
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