College Essay, The Push-up

Front leaning rest position, move!

While these words might not mean anything to the average person, the words signify the starting position of the pushup exercise. I didn’t know what they meant until Summer 2015 when I arrived for Army Basic Training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I would say that these five words have changed me for the better. It is not necessarily the words that had the meaning, but more so the action that came along with those five little words. The pushup is challenging. Having all of your bodyweight and gravity pull you down while you struggle to push off the ground with only the arms that God has given you. All of a sudden, your body is up and exhausted. Now try 46 pushups in two minutes. That is called motivation, mental and physical strength. What can one small thing like the pushup teach you about life? It is not just about the pushup, it is about pushing…pushing in every aspect of life.

I was raised by a man whose strength and integrity were evident the morning he became a single Father for my brother and I. Having one parent present for the early years of my life was pretty challenging. For five years, he raised us the best he could. There were plenty of days where it was an obvious problem, like our daily routine when he would drop me off at daycare, quickly stopping at the bubbler to pat down my bed head because he forgot to brush my hair. Some days I could tell it was a hard day. Trying to make ends meet, but there wasn’t a day that I didn’t feel loved and appreciated. My Dad got remarried when I was eight. We finally had the missing puzzle piece to our family! I believe that my past experiences from my family have taught me to treat others with respect because you never know what they have or are going through.

Leaders are either born or they are made. I feel I have been made into a leader through the experiences and training in my life. I was raised to give back and serve others.While in high school, I served as the Youth Volunteer Coordinator for Snowdrop Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits pediatric cancer patients and survivors. My decision to join the military was an easy one. At Army Basic Training, I excelled and became squad leader. I was also the highest performing female in my platoon, which resulted in me becoming an honor graduate. Throughout my school career I have been engaged in clubs, sports, and volunteer work, but it is my strength, dedication, and selflessness that has allowed me to be successful. Being a go to person both in my civilian and military life are important to me. My desire to place others’ needs before my own has put me on a path that is completely unique.

As I’m doing the pushup, I see the puddle of sweat building under my face as I hold my body in the air. It’s a puddle that is reflective of my life. You see, through hard work and discipline, I have overcome the odds. Despite what has been thrown at me, I continue to be successful. I was in the front leaning rest for an hour without moving. This gave me an opportunity to watch my puddle grow and see who I am. I am a daughter, a role model for my siblings, an American soldier, and a leader! I can make a positive and healthy environment for everyone around me. I can respect others. I can lead others. I can push myself. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and feeling confident about who you are. I feel confident on where my life is going. So I’ll keep pushing.

Front leaning rest position, move.



As I approach the start of my future, I come to a close to my childhood home. Packing all the memories up in totes to put in storage, where they will sit for years. All the medals from my races wont get their fame anymore. All the certificates get closed into folders to be put away. All the pictures get torn off the walls as they get to see new scenery. It’s a fresh start, but scary for the most part.

Thinking about living and having relationships with a people who haven’t been apart of our 18+ years of life is both exciting and nerve wreaking. Friendships will come and go in high school (or so my parents tell me), but these friends that I haven’t met will be my friends for the rest of my life. Also we can’t ignore the fact that we are supposed to find our soul mate in these short 4 years either. Everyone wants their prince charming, how is everyone so sure that we will find him/her in college. Finding that person. How should we know what the feeling of love is? Clearly I’ll be a dog person…

Hopefully this first fall semester of college goes well. All I’m asking for is to not have the freshman 15

To do

•Ride a bike

•learn the 50 states

•know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

•Get a detention 

•Highschool Prom

•Graduate high school

•Attend college





Finish Line

Lots of things end. Everything ends actually. Yesterday I had my last high school track race, it was one more lap around the track. As I sit here today just taking a step back and looking a what my team and I have accomplished this season, all I can do is smile.

As I lace up my bright yellow and pink track spikes one more time, I take a deep breath and feel relief. Knowing Ive taken my season as far as it could possibly go. Its the state meet finals in Lacrosse, WI. The top 10 teams in the whole state will compete in this 1600 meter relay. 1 hour before this we had a rain delay, my girls didn’t sulk about this, this was an advantage! We got one more hour to play the race over and over again in our head.

As we go through our dynamic warm ups, we high five each other like usual. Keep telling ourselves “It’ll be ok” “Its one minute of hell, that’s it” “We are here for a reason”. We hear 1st call for division 1 1600 meter relay. We go in as a team and check in. Annalise tells the clerk the order of race “Peebles, Gruender, Hertting, Squier”. We sit in the small white tent by the bullpen, waiting for D3 and D2 to finish their races. We get to go on the track and take off our sweats. We are lane 9, one of the outside lanes. We do dynamics down to the line. As I look up at the crowd, I see our coaches in the “nest”. I put my fingers in the hashtag symbol. This means #Compete. A saying our team says!

We then separate into runners 1,2 and 3,4. Syd and I cheer on Iris and Annalise before they line up. Everyone is in the blocks and the gun goes off. Peebles is out of the blocks fast… she’s catching up with the girl in lane 10 (Notre Dame), she hands it off to Iris. Iris stays in her lane until the cut off at the 100. As coach Busch said “beautiful cut in”.  We are now in 2nd but not by much. There are girls all around though, tenths of seconds close! Ive never seen so many girls this tight in a race before. Iris is coming into the homestretch where I am receiving the baton now. I leave right on time to get a perfect handoff. Im in 2nd place, Waukesha west is in front. The girl who runs a 54 400. Im at the 200 meter mark, 200 left and 2 girls pass me. When I’m 50 meters from the hand off. There are so many teams in all the other lanes. Its a close race. Im in the 1st lane still and I hand it to Syd. We are in 8th then, Syd passes one girl. One more to go to end up on the podium. The last 200 she passes her and closes in on the others. We got 6th, also breaking our school record by another 2 seconds with a finishing time of 3:54.69.

What a season. The school record was a 4:01… to drop 7 seconds off of it is absolutely insane. I never thought I could do it. Make it to state my senior year, be on the podium with the girls I love, and grow closer to the coaches who always believed in me. There will be no greater feeling than a coach telling you how proud he was of you this season. Telling you that you were the glue to the girls, that you made his first year of coaching one to remember. This is the season I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you to all who helped me getting there. See you at the finish line.


#GruendersDontCry #Compete

My First Blog Post…

Well, here I am typing on this computer onto a website that I am unaware of, trying to be productive with my time.  So far its working because I finished the first sentence! Anyways I’ve always wanted a place where I could express my thoughts, whether that be publicly or privately. I might as well start sooner rather than later!

A little about myself just for a background is I run. I’ve run cross-country and track since 7th grade and fell in love with it. ( I should say its a love/hate relationship) Another thing I love doing is being obsessed with my Fitbit Charge HR, it keeps me motivated to move and also very fun to compete against your friends in the challenges that they invite you to! My family is very close and I wouldn’t be here without their constant support and love. My siblings look up to me which intrinsically motivates me to be the best person that I can be at all times.

This is just a snippet of me because I can’t give out everything in the first blog… that would be too easy