I am happy to share that I have had a very unique, special, and unusual educational upbringing, to which I attribute the kind of person I am today. Due to the nature of my father’s job, my family and I always had to move from one place to another. Thus, so far in my lifetime I have attended up to seven schools, which are located in far-flung places, ranging from Houston, Texas to as far as Eket, Nigeria.
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On the whole I am appreciative of the experiences brought about by my situation. Indeed, as in all kinds of situations, there are advantages and disadvantages to be faced; however, I am positive that the advantages I derived from my life’s experiences overweigh the disadvantages greatly.
One such advantage I gathered from the experience is that I have been exposed to so many different cultures. Having witnessed such diversity in beliefs firsthand had made me look upon things with such broader perspective, compared to my past attitude when I was fully defined by my being a Nigerian. Now I realize that I should not limit my perspective based on my racial or national background, as there are many other relevant factors to consider when I take in information from the world.
Another advantage brought about by my unusual learning experience is that it enabled me to interact with people from different cultures. Mostly the entire process of getting to know other people of varying backgrounds and interests had been fun. It made me appreciate how others live their lives based on a different set of beliefs.
Having to move from place to place all the time has also made me become a more mature individual. Residing in different places, encountering various kinds of people, and going through multifarious events both positive and negative forced me into gaining a certain level of maturity. In fact, many people get surprised to learn that I am a sixteen-year-old senior in High school. However, upon getting to know me, people get over that initial surprise and see me as an equal and a mature person.
Considering the above benefits, news that the family would have to move again is always welcome to me. Such news excites me, as I expect to meet more people and make new friends, even though I am quite sure I would miss my old friends terribly. I also feel excited about learning new things, and how moving can somehow make me feel that I am starting anew, and I am given a new lease on life.
I am also grateful that my unique position had exposed me to challenges that helped shape me into a better person. Moving from place to place means having to change schools all the time. Such changes require, not only social adjustments, but also adjustments with respect to varying educational systems and standards.
For instance, I moved from the John Cooper School, a college preparatory school, to the Woodlands High School in my junior year. Unfortunately, my former school was not part of the school district. The policy in my new school dictated that my grades in my previous school be considered level courses. This gravely affected my GPA and my class ranking.
I was initially floored by the experience. I felt like all my hard work at my previous school would go to waste. Nevertheless, my maturity made me pull myself up in order to move myself through the ranks from the 557th place to the 396th. Moreover, I was able to pull my GPA upward from a 3.08 to a 3.43 in a short period of one year.
I believe that my experience of an obstacle such as the one above was a good training ground for me to develop key values of perseverance and positive thinking. My experience made me realize how strong a person I could be when faced with a challenging situation.
In sum, my wide exposure to various cultures due to my extensive travels, and the maturity brought about by my diverse experiences, have undoubtedly prepared me to become a valuable contribution to an institution committed to creating a diverse learning environment.
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