My mother called me into the kitchen where we had our laptop set up and told me that she had found something online that she thought could be life changing. Truthfully, I suspected what she said was hyperbole.
My father had passed away a year and a half before, during my first month of college, and my family was still reeling from the emotional and financial loss this had caused us, given that he had had no life insurance.
It was difficult for me to imagine something that was life changing and for the better. My experience at that point had been mostly with the other kind of life changing event, the kind of event that can simultaneously feel like a gut punch and a creeping sickness: the death of a parent.
Despite my skepticism, I agreed to look into what she had found. There was an organization, called Life Happens, with a scholarship program called Life Lessons. They were awarding more than a hundred thousand dollars in scholarships to students who had suffered through the loss of a parent who did not have life insurance. All they asked was that you share your experiences.
I didn’t write my essay right away. At first I was apprehensive about telling my story, about sharing what my family and I had gone through. Then I started watching and reading past entries in the scholarship program, and I felt empowered. I saw the strength of those that had taken part before me, and I saw that this could actually save families from having to go through what mine had gone through. So I sat down, and I began writing.
If you too have suffered a loss like mine, I strongly encourage you to share your story. I can assure you that this is life changing and for the better.
It was hard, at first. My first draft went several thousand words over the limit; it’s a challenge to say something that is so important, so central, to your life in just a few words. I did manage to tell my story, and I did submit my essay.
A Life-Changing Call
Then I received a call telling me that I was the grand prize essay scholarship recipient. That call did change my life, and it was for the better.
My junior year of college was paid for. I received opportunities to do motivational speaking at Fortune 500 companies across the United States. I met people, who I now consider to be close friends, through this program. I met fellow scholarship recipients, life insurance executives and professionals, and the whole team at Life Happens. And something that before this scholarship seemed unlikely, happened: I graduated from college a semester early last December. It would not have been possible without this scholarship.
If you too have suffered a loss like mine, I strongly encourage you to share your story through the Life Lessons Scholarship Program. I can assure you that this is life changing and for the better, that this does help people, and that we want to hear your story. It would mean a lot to us. I have the immense distinction this year of being a part of the selection process. It will be an honor to read your story, in your words.
Thank you, Shane
[To apply for this year’s Life Lessons Scholarship Program between now and March 1, 2016, click here. Or share this link with someone who you know would benefit: www.lifehappens.org/lifelessons.]