Martina Preston, a Covenant High School Senior, received a full-ride scholarship to Northwest University.
Every year, Northwest University awards up to five applicants with the President’s Scholarship, giving them automatic entry into the honors program. Students must meet GPA and SAT/ACT requirements and are selected through the President’s Scholarship Competition, an invite-only on-campus two-day event. Invitations to this competition “are limited to students who demonstrate the highest levels of academic achievement.” More information on Northwest University’s President’s Scholarship can be found here.
Martina plans to attend Northwest, pursue English, and potentially double major in user experience design. Ultimately, she would like to end up in publishing.
Below is Martina’s personal essay, which she wrote for Northwest University.
“It’s done!” Whether these words follow a two-month production of my next CD of harp music, the first draft of a novel that I’ve nurtured for over a year, or twelve years of learning and growing and creating, they are two of my favorite words to say. I love beginning new projects, fueled by anticipation and excitement, but I also love completing projects, knowing that I put in the time, ended up with something I can be proud of, and can truthfully say, “It’s done.”
In my first few years as a Christian, though, I wasn’t exemplifying this mindset. Perfectionism stopped me from finishing anything; I was scared that if I ever were to declare a project finished it wouldn’t be good enough. The overwhelming majority of my writing projects, art ideas, and goals for the future were left in torn-up notebooks to collect dust in a corner, literally and metaphorically. Crippled by overwhelming self-doubt and perfectionism, my life rarely saw any form of growth.
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when my thinking changed, but over the course of the next several years, it certainly did. Through Bible studies, church services, youth groups, and school lessons, I finally caught on. God requires perfection; I always knew that, and I tried to live up to it. Of course I failed, because I was missing the next part of the sentence: God requires perfection, but because Christ took on my sin on the cross, I meet the requirement. God sees me as perfect through Christ.
Today, my ideas and projects don’t have the ultimate goal of perfection, but instead that of glorifying God. Changing my goal hasn’t lowered my standards or my joy of finishing; rather, it has made my work ethic more dedicated and more determined. I’m not working for myself at all– I’m working for the Creator of the Universe, and I believe that I can at least give my utmost to Him. I am a writer and an aspiring author, and I have self-published one novella for my little sister and have plans to self-publish both a novel and a poetry anthology in the next year. Staying up well into the morning to finish drafting my first book by flashlight is a true indicator of my passion for writing, although the passion wasn’t left untested in the editing, revising, and publishing areas that were to follow that amazing “I’m done.”
As I look ahead, I would love to study English and Communications. Words are a powerful tool, and I stand beside the principles of solid education that allows the next generation of leaders to harness words properly. The field of today’s media is filled with well-trained individuals, but it also is the birthplace of many harmful ideas and endeavors. People look to the media for truth, and truth can be severely lacking in it. Even where there is truth, many times the person delivering it lacks the passion to back up what they are saying. Coupled with passion and an extreme love for the truth, I would help to reinforce a Biblical perspective in the media.
I have been raised with a strong classical education, which has already and will continue to prove invaluable use in the world of communication. I have been taught the art of rhetoric, speech, writing, and critical reading, among others, from studying who has gone before us. In today’s world there has been a dynamic shift in how we value those who lived before us. More and more we see people deriving their opinions directly from themselves and their peers, not from the centuries of wisdom and thought that preceded them. This change is even evident in our media, which is arguably the lifeblood of our culture. I believe that a foundation of learning based in the wisest and most educated people of previous generations will allow us to achieve the truth that we are truly looking for, and further education would help me bring that to today’s media.
In my walk as a Christian, I have become a more passionate and committed person in my faith, my writing, my academics, and my relationships with other people. I believe God has given every person gifts and talents, and I pray that I will continue choosing to use mine to glorify Him. When my life is complete, I don’t ultimately want to hear my own voice, saying “it’s done,” but the voice of Christ, saying “well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.”