An Inspirational College Essay

The ability to craft an entire garment from trash items in less than 30 minutes, resilience to scalding hot glue gun temperatures, and the capacity to craft a pun around any subject in a matter of seconds.

   These may seem like an odd assortment of skills, but they are side effects ingrained in me from nine years involvement with Odyssey of the Mind.

   For almost a decade, Odyssey of the Mind has taught me a skill set that I will use throughout my lifetime. Odyssey has been a part of my life since fourth grade, earning me the longest time possible in program within my school district.

   I entered the program as a timid, stage-frightened 4th grader who had creative ideas but shared them only on selective terms. OM will see me exit the program as an exuberant 12th grader, with a proclivity for the stage and a talent for sharing creative thought.

   The program has not only witnessed my growth into maturity, but provided the catalyst for my transformation into a confident and self-assured individual.

   While every year I approach a specific engineering and performance problem with my team, I have also learned how to creatively evaluate real world problems. In some cases, this ability takes the form of understanding points of view that are opposite of my own, which will prove useful in my future career of political studies and law. I have also used my creative skills to recover from catastrophes, such as devising a unique system to re-teach my grandmother how to read after a stroke she suffered a few years ago.

   I have learned to approach challenges that appear to be overwhelming — such as funding my own educational travel by creating different entrepreneurial businesses with my artistic talents. I approach every school assignment with the goal of individuality and seek to submit unique work that has never been done before. And yes, I use my creativity to annoy my friends and family with puns on a daily basis. In Odyssey, my team has found success: international placements, state records, and features on the

   international website. But what I take away from Odyssey is no trophy or metal, but skills gained accidentally that have become central to my identity. When I arrived at my first Odyssey of the Mind competition dressed as an imposing 4 foot tall female Santa Claus, I would never have imagined that I would carry the same set of skills into my professional career as an adult.

   I suppose that is the true nature of Odyssey: one may not be able to find that connection without thinking outside the box. Through Odyssey of the Mind I know that I have the ability to live outside the box.

~by Kenzie Briglia from Owen J. Roberts High school, PA
Kenzie is a senior in high school and is participating in her 9th year as an Odyssey structure builder. She is planning a dual major in college — International Law and International Business and is using this as an essay on her applications, which include Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Good luck Kenzie!