My health was in a gradual decline up until late March, when it became steeper. I remember spending my 19th birthday in a hospital bed. I remember seeing a vein pumping blood that I never saw before because of my drastic weight loss. I remember getting surgery and withdrawing from my second semester, hearing that if I had delayed it any further I would be a “bad surgical candidate”, the euphemism of death crossing my mind. I remember my doctor telling me (after I woke up) that I was so dehydrated that they pumped a liter of fluids into my body because they were not sure if the catheter they had placed in me was functioning properly. I remember the 6 weeks I spent virtually immobile, relegated to sitting in the house doing nothing. After those 6 weeks, I realized I needed a change of pace.
I decided to apply to NYU because I didn’t have easy access to go places and New York City is one of the most convenient cities when it comes to transportation. I also have family that can take care of me in case something goes wrong. My biggest success was realizing I wanted more in my academic career and choosing life over a letter on a transcript. My biggest failure was the time it took to realize that life is more important.
-- Ricardo Canelo