Tyler W.

Second Place Winner

I have always been an avid reader and the Alex Cross novels are by far my favorite book series. I find Alex inspiring, particularly his dedication to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He is conscientiousness, deliberate, and incredibly self-disciplined. These are all qualities I have striven for throughout my life and by doing so I have improved who I am as a person. Therefore, when considering all the different paths I could take in life, I decided I wanted to do something that would require dedication, just like Alex's job.

This leads to another aspect of Alex and his experience that I find so intriguing and motivating which is his extremely strong compassion for humanity. With all of the news today of people doing awful and terrifying things to one another, it is refreshing to see a man who loves his friends, family, and even mere acquaintances more than himself. I really connect with Alex on this level. I care for people and hurt when I see others hurting.

I have a little brother, Quentin, who is twelve years old and has battled a life-threatening disease his entire life. The disease, Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, attacks his heart and blood vessels. Quentin has been in the hospital for over a quarter of his life and in that time, he and I have read many books together. He has also become a big fan of Alex Cross and together we have read almost every one of Alex's adventures. While staying at the hospital with Quentin and my parents, I have seen kids who have endured more pain and suffering than anyone should ever have to in their entire life. However, with Quentin, I have also seen how reading books can help kids escape from the realities of life for just a bit and enter a world completely unique and inspiring. When I read to Quentin, he and I both forget about all the pain and struggle he is going to and we become emerged in the exciting life of Alex Cross.

These life experiences paired with my desire to work a job that requires dedication and allows me to show compassion for others just like Alex Cross, have greatly influenced what I want to do with my life. Therefore, it has become by ambition to become a Child Life Specialist. Within this profession, I could help children and their families navigate the emotionally demanding process of coping with hospitalization using techniques like playing games or reading books with children. This job would require dedication to my patients and would give me an outlet for showing compassion to others. Alex has inspired me and I couldn't be more grateful to him and James Patterson for the positive effects they have had on my life and how they have influenced my life ambitions.