January 6, 2020

Caleb Buchler

Thank you for the opportunity to apply for another grant from the John B. Lynch Foundation. It hardly seems like a full year has passed since my initial application. However, my daily routine now is dramatically different than it was at this time last winter.

I am a freshman at the University of Delaware and love it for many reasons. I agonized over where to go to school but ultimately chose Delaware, even though it meant giving up my long held dream of playing intercollegiate soccer which I could have done at some of my other choices. I actually do not regret my decision, though I would be less than truthful if I said I did not suffer some pangs of longing as a spectator during the fall soccer season. I did try out for UD's club soccer team in September since I had heard they played very competitively at a high level against club teams from nearby universities. I thought surely it was a given I would make the team since I had been a high school standout and had multiple offers from smaller colleges to play. You can imagine my surprise when over one hundred other "high school standouts" showed up for tryouts. I thought I had shown well and was hopeful after the three day tryout, but unfortunately I was not one of the six chosen for the team. I was very disappointed and briefly wondered if I had made a mistake by coming to UD since soccer had been such a huge part of my daily routine for so long. I wallowed in misery for about three days licking my wounds, complaining to my mother, and showing very little enthusiasm for my own brother who had been one of the chosen six. I then decided to offer myself up as an additional practice player if the team could use me in order to have better numbers for intrasquad scrimmages and practices. This allowed me to keep my foot on the ball all fall while getting to know the team, and I plan to try out again this spring. This whole experience has been lesson one in humility for me.

Lesson two is tied to my academic performance. I had been salutatorian of my high school class, so along with being a soccer phenom, apparently I was truly brilliant! I think, however, I was what folks commonly refer to as a big fish in a little pond. The University of Delaware sometimes feels like an ocean, and I am astonished and impressed at the amazing academic abilities of some of my fellow classmates. I earned a 3.14 GPA first semester. Though perhaps respectable for a college freshman, it was disappointing to me personally. I thoroughly enjoyed my classes and professors (especially my geography courses), but I feel my grades do not reflect that. I realize there is a learning curve when it comes to effectively studying and successful time management in college. In my defense, I did work hard and never skipped a class. I absolutely expect to do better this spring and look forward to the opportunity to redeem myself.

I have been having some second thoughts about my chosen course of study at UD. Currently, I am a geography education major and will ultimately end up with a secondary social studies certification. However, the vast majority of teaching positions for this certification are not in actual geography but are in history, which I personally have never enjoyed that much. I am also a Spanish minor. I loved my Spanish class last semester and am excited about the professor and the 200 level course in which I am currently enrolled. I really like the idea of becoming proficient in another language. I am hoping to do a winter term study abroad next year in Costa Rica to fully immerse myself in the language. I am contemplating changing to a Spanish major and could actually still get teaching certification in the language if education is definitely the field I see in my future. If I ultimately chose not to teach, proficiency in Spanish would still be an asset as I entered the job market, especially if I return to my hometown area where there is a very large Hispanic population.

I mentioned that there were several reasons I ultimately chose to enroll at UD. I love the big college atmosphere especially with the various sports teams. I am currently completely in awe of our girls basketball team which is ranked in the top ten nationally. I went to a small high school and have enjoyed meeting so many new people that a big university allows. My brother and I are extremely close, so going to the same university as him is a plus. We are actually going to be roommates next year which completely shocked our mother! I also like being only two hours from home — far enough that your parents do not drop in but close enough to get to them when you need them. (Not entirely fair, I know!)

Though I have mentioned various reasons I find myself content at UD, I actually chose the university initially for financial reasons. This year, my parents have three enrolled in college which is a huge financial burden. We are all expected to contribute where we can which is completely fair. Along with my brother and a friend, I cut grass in the summer. We currently maintain about forty lawns, but we did acquire a riding mower this winter so we hope to expand that number. I am under no illusion that I will actually personally be on that mower. Since I joined their existing partnership, I am low man on the lawn care totem pole, so I am quite sure I will be pushing or weed whacking my way through town! I have also worked in a local restaurant the last several summers. Since turning nineteen this year, I can switch from bussing to waitering where the money is much better. I also help with my father's summer business teaching surf lessons, but there is no pay for this. I do not complain about this since I am sure over the course of the last nineteen years on the balance sheet, I owe my dad! I actually enjoy giving the lessons. Any time spent on the beach is time well spent in my book.Paragraph

I hope you can glean from this essay that I am a determined worker and that I have acquired a much clearer understanding since starting college of what is required of me in order to succeed. My basic goals have not changed, but I now have a greater appreciation for any successes I have (both large and small) since I know the true effort it takes to achieve them. Thank you so much for your grant last year, and I hope you find me worthy again. I promise I will not disappoint you.Toggle panel: Oxygen

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