PT essay prompt help!
I'm applying to PT school and the prompt is "Describe a meaningful experience in your life. Reflect on how that experience influenced your personal growth, such as your attitudes or perceptions." The following is what I have so far. Yes, I know there are typos that I have already edited. I'm looking for help with content and organization mostly. Thanks!
what has changed my outlook on life
I have had many experiences in my life that have shaped my perspective on a variety of situations, as most people have. I have lived through a bitter, disgusting divorce between my parents that forced me to raise my younger sister when I was only 10 years old. I watched my mother struggle every single day to get up and go to work to try to provide for me and my younger sister, only bringing home $600 a month. I've lived through 3 very important members of my family dying within a 6 month period. I've watched my grandfather slip slowly away through the years to Parkinson's and dementia and the toll that took on my grandmother, who is living with two different forms of cancer. I have made it through my husbands and my own mental health issues. I am a mother, and specifically in today's era, there is absolutely nothing easy about that. I publicly breastfed my son and was chastised many times, condemned for breastfeeding and was persuaded to switch to formula and give oatmeal or cereal in bottles. I've been through all of that and so much more, but none of those are the moment in my life that changed me the most.
I was at the Penn Square Mall shooting the Thursday before Christmas 2019. That was the single most important learning experience in my life. We (my husband and now 20 month old son) were trapped in the storage room of a retailer for nearly two hours and I learned more in that time than I have in my whole life. It was not the quantity of what I learned, but the quality. During the first few moments, everything around me was pure chaos. No one knew what was occurring outside the store, we only knew we were being herded to the back of the store like cattle. My son in my arms completely clueless, I rushed to find a hiding spot in the back, out of site of the door. I turned around, expecting my husband to be behind me, but he wasn't. I have never been so helpless or petrified in my life. I waited what seemed like hours for him to walk through the door and finally he did. In that moment, I knew I would be fine, no matter what happened, because I had the two people who meant the most to me beside me. It was then that I let myself have just a moment to cry, but only a moment because my son needed his mom to be strong. We sat in the back with a pediatrician, a mother and her two preteen children who had another daughter who was just admitted to the crisis center that day, and an immigrant mother who was separated from her child and mother who were in a different store. We all sat there, unaware of what was going on outside, unsure how long we would be hiding from the chaos around us, so we talked. We kept the baby occupied and kept each others minds occupied instead of thinking about the horrible situation we were in. Those moments are where I learned so much. I saw so many peoples perspectives about the situation and on other aspects of life. My husband, an EMT-A and PICU RN, and the pediatrician both valiantly offered their services to help anyone in need and that taught me about bravery and sacrifice. The mother who was separated from her family across the mall taught me to always have faith and give it all to your God as she prayed constantly throughout the ordeal. The two preteens taught me how to help carry someones weight for them when they cant anymore. Their mother just couldn't handle everything in that moment and she taught me vulnerability and empathy.
I learned so many valuable life lessons in the two hours I was with those people, most of which I already knew but needed to be reminded of them. Since that moment, I have completely changed my outlook on life. I know that is cliche but it is pure truth. I try to capture each unadulterated moment in my mind. I love deeper and more often. I don't sweat the little things anymore, I only worry about the important things in life. I'm more passionate about the things I care about. I am more driven to succeed and to show my son that you can do anything you believe that you can, no matter what your past looks like or where you came from. I don't want to forget about the awful event that I experienced, I want to draw strength and motivation from it. I am a different person since the moment I thought my family's lives were in danger. I didn't want this essay to be a sob story or a cliche, instead, I wanted it to be the place where my passion really comes from and I hope that is clear.