Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC understands the importance of investing in the future and giving students the opportunity to pursue higher education. That’s why our firm participated in our first annual scholarship. We’re excited to announce the Fall 2021 Scholarship winner. All the applications had unique, well-written essays. Thank you to the applicants who demonstrated their creativity and perspective.
Congratulations to Kyla Mascardo of California!
Kyla is an Economics major who is planning to transfer to University of Hawaii at Manoa to obtain her Bachelor’s degree.
This is the essay topic:
What’s the most surprising thing that’s ever happened to you? When did it happen? Why did it surprise you? What did you learn from the experience?
This was her winning essay:
The most surprising thing that has ever happened to me was the realization and proof that there are no limitations to a person. It’s something I was taught when I was little, hearing phrases such as “nothing can hold you back”, or “you can do whatever you set your mind to”. As a child, hearing such variations of the same thing, I became numb to such phrases. It became a cliché within my mind, as the realities of growing older began to sit in.
The older I got, the more walls I seemed to discover. I started to understand that the way you were born could give you advantages in athletics. I witnessed more than a dozen of my friends drop out of a sport they were passionate about, purely because they did not have the stereotypical body type you needed to succeed in it. It darkened my perspective on the world and lessened my hope for the results that passion could bring. Fighting against your genetics appeared like a waste of time and dreams. If you were short, don’t play basketball, if you’re skinny, don’t play football. These were unsaid rules that made logical sense to everyone around me. From coaches to teammates, everyone doubted the weak.
I faced my wall through athletics while participating on the throwing team in track. The sport I took part in beginning my freshman year, was a sport stereotypically for big, tall, and buff body types. being a 5-foot Asian American girl, people looked at me on the team and did not expect anything. This sport is called discus, which is where you are required to weightlift as much as possible, as it directly affected your success. You had to throw weights as far as you could, the discus was a weighted disc.
In my first year, I could hardly touch the average for a freshman girl. I was also one of the only three girls on the team, both of the other girls were 6-foot seniors and well-accomplished women within the sport. Although I was heavily discouraged, I had a wonderful coach who continued to encourage me. In my sophomore year, I participated in the sport again. That year I finally was able to understand the actual technique of throwing, but sadly I was still not reaching an average throw. I felt as if I was pushing against a brick wall, reinforced ten times over. I had exhausted the majority of my motivation and was frustrated with myself and my genetics. Spending two years in a sport and seeing nothing from it created a ball of rage within me.
In my junior year, out of pure desperateness, I signed up for the weightlifting class. Multiple times a week I pushed my limits in the male-dominated class, preparing for the upcoming season. Once again I was faced with the look of doubt, even from the teacher. As the only girl in the class of 40, no one held much hope for me. I saw no changes in my body when my sports season came around, and joining the sport again for the third year was a leap of faith I took with myself. It was the true test to prove or disprove that hard work and effort can push past limitations.
I genuinely bloomed junior year, placing first in my competitions and throwing up to 20 feet farther than before. My coach recognized me as such a committed worker that I was declared team captain. From starting below average to first place, gave me emotional whiplash. This was my proof, my happy surprise. I proved not only to others but to myself that my small female body was never holding me back. I knew that when I stepped into the ring and I saw everyone with a bigger body than me look at me with boredom or expected disappointment, that after I threw my weights I would turn around to faces of disbelief. I became proud of my size and proud of the work that I put in, and my senior year after signing up for another weightlifting class, I continued to excel. I was team captain once again and the bonds I had created with my team had become deep roots.
I was in pure bliss during my season. My determination and commitment through multiple years was proof that nothing can hold me back. Facing the challenges and making the decision to succeed when everyone else told me I was simply not born to succeed in the sport, is what led me to be team captain junior and senior year, and setting a new personal record every competition. This knowledge I had learned, that effort and passion can break any limitation was not just a cliché, has formed me into the person I am now. Stereotypes and assumptions that are made of me will never hold me back. If my own genetics couldn’t stop me, I wasn’t going to let simple opinions stop me either. I apply this mentality to all things in my life now, from academics to personal aspirations, there is truly nothing that can limit me.
Congratulations again, Kyla!