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From working on a ’68 Chevy truck to majoring in engineering

When I was in high school, I had a pretty rough time compared to other friends. I made a lot of poor choices, and these reflected on my academic performance. But I still managed to graduate from high school with a 3.6 GPA. During my senior year, my father and I found a 1968 Chevrolet C10 truck at an auction site. It was rusted like none other but the frame was solid, so it stole my heart. We purchased it for $1700 and brought it home to our garage in suburbia so I could work on it. When this happened, things changed in my life. I had a concrete goal: to rebuild this machine and get it running again. During this process, I realized something that is incredibly important to my life today: I loved learning. I taught myself how to rebuild that truck using the internet and the advice from my down-the-street neighbor who had a fully rebuilt GTO. This realization ultimately led me to pursue my education with vigor, and this became evident in my last semester of high school.

Because of this automotive experience, I decided to go to Kettering University. There, I study mechanical engineering with a specialty in automotive engineering. My first semester at Kettering was difficult; I had to adjust to living on my own and being in charge of my own time. I had significant health issues during my first two semesters, and I often had two or three doctor appointments each week in addition to a full class load. I struggled mentally with my chaotic life but still performed decently in academics during my first 2 semesters. At times, I would go to class but need to leave after only five minutes because of my health problems. When I finally overcame these in between my second and third semesters, I invested my new energy into schooling. This allowed me to obtain a 4.0 GPA for my third and fourth terms at Kettering.

The engineering degree is a stepping stone for me. I already have significant work experience in my field of study due to co-op terms and internships, which place me well ahead of my peers from other schools. I will use my degree to ultimately work in the automotive field designing vehicles. I have dreamed about doing so since I started working on my Chevy truck, and the attainment of my goals will enable me to help others. I plan on tutoring other students during my next term at school and am looking forward to donating money for alumni-sourced scholarships once I graduate. I want to be able to help other students like myself who strive for advancement and learning. With this degree and financial support, I hope to be capable of doing so.

We are proud to announce Nicholas Hallstedt is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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