4’11 Forever

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

When my mom gave birth to me, I weighed in at nine and a half pounds and measured twenty-two inches. One could say I was pretty big for a newborn, but whenever I tell this story, it is soon followed by a: “And that’s pretty much when I stopped growing.” Ever since I can remember, and up until the eleventh grade, I had always been the shortest guy in my class. The problem with this, coupled with the fact that I’m a guy, is that people usually only respect people who look “scary,” i.e., tall and big people. And I mean, who was I going to scare at 4’11?. Ever since I started school I have had to compensate for my height to get people not to take advantage of me. For example, when I arrived in my current school, I decided to try out for the tennis team, which had just won the championship the year before. When I went to the try-outs, the other kids from my class taunted me because they thought that my height made me weak and a bad player. However, they were very wrong; I made the team and we won the championship that year. This is the compensation I am talking about, and it is the reason why I believe I am who I am today.I entered my current high school in the seventh grade. I was a small kid and knew about 10 kids from my class, which is a small amount considering we were 150 back then. However, even though I knew no one, I ran for class president that same year. Thanks to my personality and some campaigning from my 10 friends, my class elected me president. That was the day I realized that it didn’t matter how tall I was as long as I proved I deserved respect. From that day forward, my “struggle” (because we teenagers exaggerate everything) with height has given me the character and dignity with which I portray myself every day. I still find it ironic, however, that everyone from my class, even the ones that I’ve physically outgrown, still call me “enano,” which is Spanish for midget. At first, I didn’t understand. I mean, I knew I wasn’t that tall but I was now average, so why were they still taunting me? It was some time later that I realized that they weren’t taunting me; they just remember me as the short guy who didn’t care that he was short when he arrived in school. Now that I am taller, I think to myself: why should I care now? So I embrace the irony and laugh at it, and at the end of the day, the fact that you can laugh at yourself is a great indication of self-confidence, which is what we teenagers strive for during our time in school.

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