SN&R’s 2012 College Essay Contest third place

<p>Name: Casey Dudley</p><p>Now attending: Sacramento Charter High School</p><p>College he’ll attend: Occidental College</p><p>Plans to study: Physics</p><p>Personal Motto: “Everything happens for a reason. There is no one obstacle thrown your way that you can’t handle.”</p>

Name: Casey Dudley

Now attending: Sacramento Charter High School

College he’ll attend: Occidental College

Plans to study: Physics

Personal Motto: “Everything happens for a reason. There is no one obstacle thrown your way that you can’t handle.”

Photo by Priscilla Garcia

Third Place

“Why do you look so serious …”

“Why do you look so serious all the time?” I have been repeatedly asked this by my peers, teachers, and even people on the street.

It is because I have always been focused on what I need to do. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have wanted to go to college and be an engineer. I’ve noticed that if they’re not focused, African-American males of my age tend to follow the wrong path. My self-motivation has carried me throughout my whole life.

Both of my parents came from impoverished neighborhoods. My father grew up in East Oakland (where I was born), and my mother grew up in west Fresno, two neighborhoods that are struggling and in the ghetto. Where they grew up has made a significant impact on their lives. I have realized that my parents have made career decisions later in their lives because of where they grew up. They were unsure about their paths in life until their 40s.

Eventually, my father entered the deputy sheriff academy at age 40, which is very late to be making a career decision. My mother is just now starting court-reporting school at the age of 44. I am proud to say that my parents are on the right path, but it would have been much easier for them if they had focused earlier in life. The decisions that my parents have made brought me to the realization that I want to make my career decisions as soon as possible. I am not going to be affected by where I was born.

Growing up, my father instilled in me the idea of taking life seriously by focusing on college and getting as much of it paid as possible. I have been working my whole life to live up to this expectation, with my focus on school and athletics. I have always worked for my success, whether it is getting honor roll every term or being an all-league football player. I have always had my own personal drive to work for what I want in life.

From fourth grade on, I have had a passion for mathematics. As a freshman, I completed pre-calculus with all seniors in the class. I have juggled through different mathematical careers, and I have settled on the main one: electrical engineering. But I am still willing to study a similar major.

I have always had a passion for building and inventing things. Ever since I was little, I have torn apart my toys and put them back together. Also, I have been operating computers and other electronic devices very well form the age of 7 years old. I have noticed that many African-Americans are not very well represented in the engineering community. It is my goal to be an engineer and a role model for African-Americans in the engineering community.

From the start of my life, I have been self-motivated, doing little things that got me ahead of the next person has helped me in ways unimaginable. I am a successful African-American male at the age of 17, and unfortunately, not many African-American males can say this. I juggle maintaining a GPA of over 3.8, AP and honors classes, football, link crew, community service and various club activities all at the same time.

I am blessed to be focused and serious in a dangerous world. Otherwise, I would not be in the position I am today.