I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry
And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry
And every time you walk out, the less I love you
Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true

Sam Smith, Lyrics in “Too Good at Goodbyes”

Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” music video recently popped up on my YouTube feed and within the first few verses, my eyes started welling up. I find every Sam Smith song is so tragically beautiful and raw.

It’s about the powerlessness of the human condition. The paradoxes of wanting to be loved but not loving yourself. And the ugly and flawed ways that life unravels itself, but how everyone still needs to find the courage to pick themselves up and keep moving forward.

Sam Smith’s songs have seen me through so many heart-aches and moments of self-doubt that I feel compelled to dedicate a blog to him.

This blog will take a close and deeper look into Sam Smith’s personal and the intense difficulties that he suffered through as he adjusted to his fame while also exploring how his story can be written in the form of a scholarship essay.

This blog is for all of Sam Smith’s fans that want to learn more about his life as well as the fans that would like to learn more about Sam Smith while also learning how to write a killer scholarship essay. I hope you guys enjoy this blog!

DISCLAIMER: I based the majority of this hypothetical scholarship on research I conducted on Sam Smith’s life. But since I wasn’t able to directly interview Sam Smith (maybe one day I will though!), I don’t know how accurate everything is.

So take everything for a grain of salt! I am only writing this for educational purposes.

Scholarship Prompt

First things first, this is the essay prompt that we are going to use for Sam Smith’s hypothetical essay:

What is your greatest accomplishment, and why do you consider it an accomplishment?

Suggested Essay Outline

Before I dive in to share my tips on how to write this scholarship essay, I would advise Sam Smith (and anyone else that has some incredible accomplishments to share) to use this outline to structure your essay.

I don’t have enough time to go through each section individually to explain how you should write them, but this outline should help guide you through the writing process.

Introduce what your greatest achievement is and give a bit of background information
Explain the challenges that you went through in a way that can resonate with your reader and allow them to step into your shoes and understand what you went through in order to achieve your accomplishments
Now go into detail to explain how you managed to overcome the various challenges and obstacles
End the essay with a recap of the essay while explaining why this is the greatest achievement that you have made and why you consider it a notable achievement.

Tip 1: Write About A Worthy Accomplishment

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

Theodore Roosevelt

When it comes to this essay, the single-biggest tip I can give Sam Smith is to always pick a worthy accomplishment to write about.

A worthy achievement is not necessarily the one that you’re proudest of or the one that appears to be the most impressive. It is an achievement that required a lot of hard work and/or made a big difference in the world.

  1. Required a lot of hard work
    The achievement was something that required a lot of hard work and was extremely difficult to achieve.
  2. Made a huge impact in the world
    The achievement helped a lot of people or made a big positive impact on the world.

For Sam Smith, it will almost be too easy to write about his obvious achievements as a singer and performer. So instead of writing about that, he should strive to present something with more depth and complexity.

Sam could also flip this essay prompt on its head and redefine what accomplishment means to him. He can write about his struggle with the sudden stardom that he gained and the difficulties of readjusting to his own life after becoming famous.

And then explain that surviving the pressures of becoming a star is an accomplishment in its own right.

Here is an example of what Sam Smith could write:

As a singer and songwriter, most people may consider my greatest accomplishments to the four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, a Golden Globe, and overtaking the Beatles with a Guinness world record for most consecutive weeks ever in the Top 10 all before the age of 25.

But to me, my greatest accomplishment was my ability to survive and rebuild my life after I was catapulted into the limelight.

Tip 2: Bring Your Challenges to Life

The second tip I would give Sam Smith is to bring to life the challenges that he faced. Keep in mind that the person reading your scholarship essay knows nothing about you or the circumstances that you’ve lived in.

To make this easy for your reader, make sure you illustrate the challenges that you faced. And do it in a way that makes it effortless for the reader to step into your shoes.

You want the reader to also be rooting for you as they read through your essay.


In Sam Smith’s case, one of the best ways he can do this is to share personal stories that capture those experiences while also demonstrating the double-life he was living when he suddenly rose to prominence.

Here’s an example of how Sam can write this:

Since the age of 15 when I watched George Michael open the Wembley Stadium, it has always been my dream to sing and share my music with the world. But when my dream came true, I was not prepared for the sacrifices and intense pain that came with it.

Within a few years, my personal life turned upside down. One of the closest people to me cut off ties with me because they could no longer cope with everything that comes with me.

I drowned in an intense feeling of insecurity as I became increasingly surrounded by perfect and beautiful people – the kind of people that I knew I would never be.

And when it came to performing, which the thing that I used to live for, I started suffering from massive anxiety, often on the verge of having panic attacks.

There was no relief from the pain. It was staring down at me every time I went outside and it was waiting for me every time I went home. No amount of tears, drinking, smoking, or eating could make me feel better. It was like falling into a vortex and being helpless as I watched it rip me into shreds.

Tip 3: Explain Why You Consider Something An Accomplishment

After you’ve illustrated the challenges that you faced, make sure you answer the scholarship prompt and explain why you consider something an accomplishment.

To help you answer this question, I would advise you to think about a few things.

  • Think about the journey that you went through, how have you changed as a person?
  • What did you learn on the way?
  • What people have you impacted?
  • Why is this something you should be proud of?


This is an example of how Sam Smith can answer this question:

I lived like that for what felt like years. But somewhere along the way, I rediscovered an inner strength in me and the courage to push through.

Slowly but surely, I was able to strengthen my relationship with my friends and family, reestablish my foundation, and rebuilt myself as an even stronger person.

Surviving what I have been through is the greatest accomplishment that I have achieved in my life. And now, I am to step back into that vortex again because I still have a dream.

I am still hungry for the chance to play at Wembley Stadium like George Michael, I still long to sing, and most importantly, I am still eager to let my songs go.

That’s the beauty of my struggles. I can still sing and share give away my songs, and deliver moments of courage and strength that can be of help to other people suffering in similar ways as me.

Wow…writing this makes me feel like I know Sam Smith really well almost like a close friend and it makes me want to meet him even more!

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did and please make sure that you drop me a comment if you have any questions. I’ll try my best to get back to you!


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    Sam Smith @ Lollapalooza 2015 by pitpony.photography is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 www.pitpony.photography.de

    Sam Smith 2 by marcen27 from Glasgow, UK is licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license.

    “Sam Smith @ Lollapalooza 2015” by © pitpony.photography is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0