The Odyssey in My Life | University of California – Berkeley Undergraduate Application Essay

In the classic Greek epic, ‘The Odyssey,’ Homer idealizes Odysseus for portraying two attributes: physical and intellectual strength. These are the two qualities that help the protagonist on his difficult journey. Greek society is similar to the society at the Army and Navy Academy, as both idealize a strong body and mind. For the past two years I have been working on developing both aspects of myself. During the summer after my sophomore year, I came to the Army and Navy Academy. I had no idea how intense the academy’s program was.

Every morning before the sun rose, mosquitos often bit us as we lined up for physical training formation. One of the first activities was to run a mile, followed by sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups. For the first week, excruciating side aches throbbed inside of me. At times I thought my body would burst, as I was not conditioned for this type of workout, but I pushed through the pain. Three weeks into the program I started to look forward to the workouts. Slowly I was transforming my body. I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride as I was now leading a small pack of 20 or so cadets. Those early days of training transformed me into someone who now enjoys keeping in shape and exercising every day.

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