Sophomore year I was playing at a soccer tournament with my old team. I was playing a great game even though the score was not reflecting my hard work. Towards the end of the game I jumped up caught the ball landed, my body went one way and my legs went the other, then I fell to the ground. Everyone around me had heard a pop, I knew it was my ACL. From this moment in my soccer career I knew I needed to be determined and to be focused on my recovery in order to get back out there.
My life and journey towards Cornell has been one characterized by struggle. Throughout my childhood, I was raised in two families which highly valued critical thinking and education. As such, I was always expected to ask “Why?” “Why?” was the question that could bring me an education. “Why?” could help me learn more about my surroundings and how I could improve them. I also asked that question when my mother and birth father divorced. I questioned why my father left and why my mom and I moved. What I realize now is that, without my parents divorcing, I could not have received the opportunities afforded to me.
I went up for a layup and got pushed hard in the back. When I came down, I felt my knee buckle and immediately knew something wasn’t right. The sound it made was alarming, proving to be a serious injury - a fractured femur. It was my junior year and I was looking forward to playing basketball and starting to train for the next football season.
One being, learning how to manage my time. There were weeks where we would have school all day, then practice till five, then a basketball game at six. It was extremely hard to study, cheer, work, and somehow have a social life. These situations helped me plan ahead to when I was going to finish homework or study for my upcoming tests. I will use this useful skill in college next year where i'll find myself always looking for time that I don't have.
I never even got to say goodbye. When my dad left it was the hardest it's ever been for my family and I, and we were never quite the same. After a while I began to fill into my father's shoes. “Aaron, one day you’re going to have to raise a family of your own. You’re a man, you’re going to have to be the provider for the family.” These words spoken by my mother have run deep through my soul and has shaped me to the very being I am today. I have three sisters, a mother, and a niece. Being the only boy in a family full of women is tough; it seems like the transition from being a boy to a man swiftly creeps upon you, and you suddenly inherit a large sense of responsibility within the household.
No matter what time zone I am in, my phone buzzes most frequently when I am asleep. Whether a missed call from a friend in Kenya, an email from a musical collaborator in Canada, or a LinkedIn message from a U.K. investor in my educational startup, I eagerly wake each morning to many new notifications. Growing up, I traveled extensively, living on three different continents. In fact, my passport looked like my coloring book. Learning five languages and adapting to foreign environments while maintaining my identity, has taught me to value different skills, including networking.
With brows frowning as intensely as possible, I sat still and listened as the doctor concluded, "You have ADHD, and it can only be eased, but not completely cured." Layers upon layers of intense emotions stirred inside me as I sprinted out from the hospital. Anger and despair struck me as the words, “I will never be cured”, echoed in my mind. Enduring this arduous sentence, I isolated myself from the rest of the world. A once jovial kid with endless dreams suddenly transformed into a child with a hollow shell. Eventually, all my confidence and hopes were drained by my internal distress and confusion.
Summer was at full blast, Sunday league was starting and I was playing soccer every single day. I was ready for the next season of high school soccer to come and I was training myself to the limit because I wanted to be one of the best players on the field and to possibly be captain for varsity this year. This year was also the year our new coach, coach Jay was in charge of us because Olivier had left last year to to go to Michigan with his wife. Jay had already seen how well of a player I was because I played in his soccer club and immediately placed me in the varsity roster but as a defender and not a striker. The transition was difficult but I learned fast.
As a student, I have faced so many incoming obstacles in my life, that it is natural for myself. One of the bigger challenges that I have recently faced was almost getting cut by the Junior Varsity Tennis Team. This happened to me last year and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I am pretty sure I had other significant challenges that I have faced before, but this one tested my ability to work hard and keep myself motivated. Last year I was trying to find something different to do because I was always being lazy and would be on my phone all the time.
During the game which I suffered my injury I caught the ball midair around half court. While I was still in the air I went to make a move, but when I landed on the court I heard a popping noise and my knee buckled. I was then on the ground when I heard the whistle blow and saw Coach Friesen and Coach Conley running over to me. At first I thought that my calf was injured but there was an intense pain coming from it, but it eventually faded and I realized my knee was the real problem.
Accomplishments began to be larger and more important to me. This only made failure that much more painful. My whole life, I loved playing soccer. At some point, all I dreamed about was becoming a proffesional soccer player. I come from a middle class family, who has seen their fair share of struggles.
I broke my tibia, fibula and cracked my platelet in my ankle. My mom rushed me to a hospital where we waited two hours for me to be seen. After a while my mom got frustrated and very impatient she then helped me back into the car and rushed me to children’s hospital where they wheeled me to an emergency room and put me to sleep. They began to place my bones back into place.
A change within my life that helped me grow was getting a job. My first job, was as at Little Caesars as a shaker-boarder. My motivation was to help pay my family’s bills. I had to perform tricks, dance, and wave a sign on the corner of Holgate and Division. Eventually motivated I moved up the ranks from shaker-boarder, dish washer, to preparing dough, all during my last term of high school. However, my parents worried that I may dismiss my education for money. After discussing the matter though, it was agreed I would keep my job to pay for college.
Going to college has always been a dream of mine, I never knew what I wanted to major in or any clue of what career I wanted to go into. It all started with my love of finding out more about the world around me I thought is was just my curiosity like everyone else but it was something different. That’s when I found my love for science. At first I really didn’t see my love for until sophomore year of high school when we would get on a subject and wanted to learn more about the particular subject not just what was in the book.