• Sadie Sutton

My College Application Personal Statement

I want to start this essay by acknowledging my story is not one typically showcased in a college application. Nor, as you are about to learn, is it one that many would choose for themselves. But it is my story and one of grit, determination and perseverance.

At age thirteen, I battled depression so severe that I would become physically paralyzed for hours, entrapped in my thoughts and self-disgust. Not long after that time, I left home for a year and a half, putting a pin in my high school pursuits in the hope of drastically shifting my life trajectory. It was a lot for an eighth grader.

To my surprise, this saving-grace of treatment worked, but not because there was a miracle cure. There was no happy pill that magically solved all of my problems. If anything, the miracle was me deciding that I wanted my life to be different. At that point, for the first time in my existence, I wanted to live a life I loved. From that moment on, every second of every day was dedicated to achieving this goal despite how far I was from it.

I want to remind you that I was fourteen. I was not your average mental health guru in my mid-thirties trying to align my inner Chakras. I had never been to prom and was years away from being able to legally drive a car. I nonetheless learned to rewire every belief system upon which I lived. In a family where I often felt isolated, I learned to build connections that fostered support, care, and community. I went from struggling with severe depression to becoming symptom and diagnosis free.

This growth in and of itself is rare. However, at fifteen, I also started a podcast to share my unique mental health journey with the world. My persistence paid off—it blew up. In the first year and a half, I’ve reached tens of thousands of struggling teens, confused parents, and open-minded professionals, all finding hope from my story. With over fifty episodes, I’ve led impactful conversations with industry experts, fellow teenagers diving into their own mental growth, and others working to spark crucial discussions in the mental health space. My audience has doubled in the most recent thirty day period and is on track to double in size again by the time you review my application. The following is representative of the many emails and comments I receive in a given month:

“It is outstanding, and I will listen to all of the [episodes] and share with my family. Sadie is wonderful, and quite self-aware, healthy, and intelligent. The podcasts will help many people, my family included. It exudes kindness and a desire to help.” - a father of a teenage girl struggling with depression and anxiety.

Getting to the healthy, strong mental state I was able to achieve several years ago took immense effort. Finding the motivation within myself to do this work was the hardest thing I have ever done. I created my podcast to help other people like me find their motivation. And it’s working. My next step? To become a clinical psychologist, so I can do this on an even larger scale.

My experience may not be the type commonly presented in an application. People have cautioned me against sharing the story of my growth with any college, because it could “hurt how they see me.” However, I am so very proud of my experience that began back in my eighth grade year. I am extremely fortunate to get to be the protagonist in this epic and high-impact adventure.

My story has been well-earned, and through my podcast I’ve learned that sharing it is a step towards being part of the solution, not part of the problem. And my story is only just beginning.

And finally, me reacting to getting into the University of Pennsylvania

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