The life accomplishment I am most proud of is being voted captain of the Lafayette College basketball team. Growing up it was always a dream of mine to play Division 1 basketball. I achieved that goal when I was accepted to Lafayette. Over my four years, through blood, sweat and tears, I earned the respect of both my fellow players and coaches and was named captain my senior year. For me this culminated a career that was both physically and emotionally difficult. There were many times, especially in my freshman and sophomore years, when I wanted to quit, I wanted to give up. Being born with a cleft lip and palate, I know how important it is to keep a positive attitude. There have been many times in my life when I’ve been down and out, really struggling with having a facial difference. However, being able to get through those tough times has made it easier to get through a tough practice, game or season. Having the opportunity to be on a team helped me realize that my facial difference does not have any impact on my ability to help and lead the team. Being able to put aside my facial difference on the court allowed me to put aside my difference off the court in my everyday life. For those struggling with self-esteem, understand a facial difference does not define you. Be outgoing, take chances! Even people without facial differences have trouble being themselves. Show people who you truly are because people want to know! Initially it is difficult. Often you find yourself questioning if the person is noticing your difference, or what he or she is thinking about it. If I have learned one thing in having a facial difference, the less you think about it, the less others will. I understand it takes some extra courage as a person with a facial difference to step out of your comfort zone, but once you do, you will wonder what took you so long.