Congratulations to the Fall 2017 Scholarship Winner
All of the lawyers and staff members at Miller & Associates are dedicated to helping our local and nationwide communities build strong foundations that can enable us to take part in a brighter future. Our students are our future, and helping them helps all of us.
In the past, we started a scholarship that gives us the ability to help students forge that strong foundation. The submission period for that scholarship, Fall 2017, just came to a close. We were truly humbled by the number of scholarship applications we received– 157 total– as well as the exceptionally high quality of every essay. All of the essays were outstanding, and carefully reading and reviewing to choose just one winner was difficult!
We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Genoveva Dimitrova of Marietta, Georgia!
Genoveva is currently a student with plans to become an actor.
The topic that Ms. Dimitrova chose was one of the several available in the submission period. It was:
- What challenge(s) have you faced in order to get to where you are today, and how have these challenges shaped who you are, and how will you apply what you have learned from these challenges towards your career goals?
Genoveva took a difficult topic and navigated it with ease, crafting a very personal essay that encourages readers to look at the issues and dangers facing young people. Here’s her winning essay:
Miller And Associates Educational Essay
There’s always that one event in everyone’s lives that changed them forever. They became different afterwards, whether the change is almost immediate or if the change creeps up years later. For me, it happened when I was five years old. I didn’t know what was happening at the time or the impact that it would have on my future. It took until I was nineteen years old for the change to show its ugly head, well ugly in my case. These changes, whether they were good or bad, have shaped our personality, habits, emotions and connections/interactions with other people. They have shaped how we view the world. They have shaped out lives.
When I was five years old, I was molested by a family member, who was only a few years older then me at the time. I had no idea what the world was like and it was changed before I could even find out. I didn’t know the repercussions that would take place as a result of a seven-year old’s curiosity gone wild. Never the less, it molded me and planted habits in me that I didn’t understand until I was much older. I didn’t really understand the connection between love and sex; I’m not entirely sure I do now but that’s a topic for my therapist. As I grew older, I realized that I was always more comfortable in a sexual situation then I would be if I was on a date and had to make conversation. My first year into college, everything that I repressed when I was only a child came out and I began to have flashback of the incidents. As a result, it was hard to be with anyone for a lot period of time.
That is why I chose to be an actor. I can’t rewrite the past. I can’t change what happened to me. But what I can do is help prevent at least one other person from the experience that I went through. That’s where the arts come in. The arts, whether it’s theatre, music, movies or art, is the best place for bringing issues that are usually hard to talk about to the surface. Theatre allows problems to be shoved in people’s faces where it’s hard to ignore them. It presents a mirror to society so they can see all the beauty as well as all the faults. However, it’s the moments after the play that are the most important. Whether people thought the play was bad or good, they leave the theatre discussing the ideas that were posed in the form of entertainment. These ideas tend to creep back into their head for hours, days and maybe even weeks after. They’re at work getting snacks from the vending machine and something reminds them of the play they recently saw. They might even talk to their co-workers about it or maybe they just ponder the ideas for a few moments. That’s all that is needed, a seed. Once that seed is planted, it will eventually grow on it’s own, slowly but surely.
Something horrible happened to me but I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I found my reason and it was presented to me through my passion. I won’t lie and say that I completely understand the exact circumstances that lead to a seven-year old boy to be compelled to do those things to a five-year old girl. However, I have learned contributing factors that encourage those kinds of actions. For example, our society is very explicit now-a-days. Kids are starting to see men and women more sexualized at a way earlier age. Naturally they have reactions to such explicit material but they are not young enough to fully understand these feelings or the consequences that occur if they decide to pursue them. According to statistics. Sexual abuse or exploration that happens between children is the least talked about; it occurs to about 20% of children and that’s just the ones that report it. I want to use my experience and my career to give a voice to those that lost theirs when they were too young to defend themselves.
As a woman, we always have to be on guard. We have to be aware of our surroundings if we are leaving the store late at night. We have to be aware of our surroundings when we are going to work. We have to be aware at all times. Ask any woman and each one will have a story involving a situation where she was forced to do something she didn’t want to or she was made to feel like an object instead of a person. I got out of rehearsal last week at around 9:30pm and I ran out of detergent earlier in the week so I decided to stop by Target on the way home. It takes me about a 15-minute walk to get home and a 7-minute longboard ride. I live in downtown Chicago so it’s pretty well lit and there’s usually people still out at that time of the night. While I was at Target, I noticed a man following me through several different aisle of the store. He was making direct eye contact that still gives me the creeps when I think about it. He had only one item in his cart and didn’t look like he was very interested in getting anything else. He followed me all the way to the check out counters. After I checked out, I decided to be safe and wait for him to leave first before I left home. However, after he paid for his drink, he came and stood next to me. I ended up getting a Lyft home and a Target employ walked me to my car. I might have over-reacted and maybe it wasn’t what it seemed like but I couldn’t take that chance. I hate that I didn’t feel safe enough to walk home. This is a very small example of a very big problem and this is a best case scenario.
I have become stronger and more resilient as a result of of the challenges that I have had to face. They have made me into the person that I am now and I wouldn’t change it even if I could. These challenges, as rough as they have been, have gave me a purpose and I can use that purpose to make a difference in the world, no matter how small. I can use my stories to prevents others of having to go through what I did. The only way that I know how to do that is through theatre and I intend to use it to my best ability to spread my messages.
For more information on the next Miller and Associates scholarship period which will be for Spring 2018, please see our law firm’s scholarship page for updates within the next week. Congratulations again, Genoviva! May all your dreams come true.