I, as well as my teachers and advisors, worked on this for quite some time. This is the personal statement that I submitted to universities for the 2018-2019 Common Application. This is long enough to be a post, so it’s a post.
We were called “the originals,” the first cohort of students to stay together from kindergarten to eighth grade. We were about to tackle our next adventure—high school. In the fall, I started with a clean slate containing ubiquitous experiences; upperclassmen hounding around you, screaming “fresh meat,” new additions to your friend-group and other events that everyone goes through. While my experience contained the basics, I was quite lucky in having my core friend-group from middle school go to the same high school as I, until sophomore year. Like wildfire, drugs started to enter our group conversations, “Does anyone know where I can get Xanax?” or “Have you ever tried it?” These topics subsequently dominated future conversations wherever they could occur. We all have been fairly warned that drugs are bad by those we looked up to. After many long nights of deliberation, I ejected myself into the friendless wilderness. Deciding to do so brought a heavy burden of remorse.
One by one, my friends fell into pit that is peer pressure. After class I would speak with my teachers about how I felt. Alone, beaten, and depressed that I lost grip of my core. My grades took a sharp downturn. It was hard to focus in school, being overwhelmed by grief over losing my best friends, some I knew since kindergarten. I too fell into a crater, but instead of being amongst my peers, I was amongst myself. During that time, I contemplated everything, whether I should betray my beliefs, succumb, and join them in their trough or not. Those thoughts terrorized me. Seeing the people I once called friends every day, sitting alone at lunch and in class gave me a feeling that was unlike any other that I’ve felt before.
During the winter, while still sulking, I began assisting a photographer who volunteered for a local non-profit dedicated to taking photos of children who were suffering from drastic illnesses. Each and every event, I would be amazed that the subject would be so strong in the face of the abyss. That experience allowed me to grow tremendously, and taught me that even when in front of a blazing fire, I should continue to stand firm.
While assisting, I also received an invitation to join a club that pinpointed and found solutions to issues that plagued our community. Without hesitation, I accepted the invitation. While assisting or working, I started to be able to piece together a sense of purpose, a sense of “I can do better.” Through the darkness, I saw light. Energized by the sudden emergence of hope, I decided to make a “dent” in the universe, in any way possible.
My community, wherever that may be physically, became something that I wanted to improve each and every day. At the end of it all, I’m glad that I went through such an experience; I came out a better person. Going to and succeeding in university, academically and socially, I’ll be able to improve myself and those around me even better than I am now. Life will never be the same, it’ll be better.