Mississippi Miles

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.

Miles: Zero

The distance from Meridian to Hot Coffee, Mississippi spans 80 miles. By the end of May, the boys in my family and I squeeze into dad’s 1983 Toyota Pickup, and we speed away to a grimy race track wedged in the midst a ghost town. As we careen down the kudzu-laden path of Okatibbee Ridge Lane, I fend off drowsiness by listening to the conversations that ensue. It’s never difficult. The drive is always more interesting than the destination.

Miles: 20

I grew up in a family obsessed with racing motorcycles. My dad was unsure of how to raise a timid daughter, but he knew how to entrust the skills of a hobby he adored. He especially imparted wisdom through Mississippi miles.

He armed me with screwdrivers and a sound mind, radiator fluid and resilience, bolts and brilliance, until my arms overflowed with loose parts and my mind overflowed with ideas. I learned courage on the seat of a rumbling motorcycle at four. At six, I learned to solve complex problems by repairing a broken motorcycle on my own.

I stared into a gaping abyss of foreign parts, unsure of where or how to start. It took four weeks and hours of toiling incessantly at my project, but, finally, the machine roared to life once again. I understood, then, the...

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