background, talents, skills, etc. or experiencesThe prompt: Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience of others.
When I encountered it first, my reticent behavior made acclimating to my new life at a university difficult. 500 miles displaced from my home, perhaps my reserved personality didn't fit with the rigorous learning environment at college.
To escape the stress, I routinely exercised at the campus gym. One day, upon walking in an unprecedented area, I encountered a breakdancing class. But, I was the only Asian immersed in a cluster of 10 Black African Americans. When my face changed to scarlet, I tried to leave discreetly; all eyes glued on me. The awkward moment overturned when they cheered for me to join. Dancing was incompatible with my strict upbringing because my parents emphasized the "boring" piano and violin; breakdancing was out of my comfort zone. Yet, as I chatted with my new friends who had nothing in common with me, I slowly lifted my foot. By mirroring every move, strangers taught me a task I wouldn't think of doing in my life.
However, my new friends taught me more than dancing. In particular, I need to leave my comfort zone to become stronger. Participating in campus was one way for me to grow. As orange leaves changed to winter gray, I became a leader of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Here, I collaborated with two different sets of people - professional engineers and enthusiastic students. Piloting public relations, I increased club awareness by forcing myself in crowds of peers and professionals and recruiting ten new members every week. These conditions improved my creative thinking skills as I implemented new event ideas to promote participation. But in spite of cooking free food or making comical PowerPoint presentations, I learned to improve my public speaking skills. Talking in front of 50 students at every meeting contradicted my shyness, but it gave me the practice required to improve self-efficacy.
Sometimes one can better themselves by leading an association - or from learning a new dance. But, learning in a collaborative setting is fundamental. Before, I considered my shy personality detrimental; however, it led to my catalyst for growth. Removing myself from my comfort zone by meeting new people transformed a boy too scared to start a conversation into someone who finally believes in himself. I am confident in my abilities and cannot wait to foster an environment where others can improve as well.