Fire in my Heart

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

Santa didn't always come down my chimney on December 25.

I worried when my mom said my dad had to work on Christmas day, but she had a simple solution in mind. She made a phone call to the North Pole, and Santa kindly agreed to bring our presents one day early. He decided to give us special treatment because our dad was a fireman, and firemen had once saved Santa's house when the elves caught some cookies on fire.

As my childhood belief in Santa Claus faded and I realized that my dad was Santa, I understood things in a different way. My dad was not the reason Santa came early—he was the reason Santa came at all.

Sometimes, I didn’t understand why my dad couldn’t come to all the fun events at my school, or why he couldn’t drive me to my friend’s birthday party, or why my mom had to check his schedule every time I wanted to have a sleepover. Sometimes I got mad at my dad for his absence. I even wondered whether he loved me or not. The question, "Where's your dad?" sparked hatred in me, and I hated having to say, "he's at work" even more. When I realized that his sacrifices were the hands that put cookies on our kitchen table and presents under our Christmas tree, those words never made me feel shameful again. To this day, they...

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