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Questbridge Personal Essay - Context in which you grew up - "Life in America"

saady1519 1 / 1  
Sep 23, 2022   #1

"Life in America"

We are interested in learning more about the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your successes. Please describe how the most influential factors and challenges in your life have shaped you into the person you are today.

I think about my life in two parts-life before December 22, 2010, and life after that. That date was the start of life in a new world for me, life halfway across the world from what I once knew as "home," life in America.

I never gave much thought to the reason we came to America, but I was ecstatic to come anyway. It would be the first time I see my father in years. I was excited, yet nervous because my younger brother would not be able to recognize my father, so I tried to explain to him what he looked like while we sat in the airplane.

After we finally landed at the airport, I rushed ahead of my mother into the bustling crowd, eagerly searching for my father. Standing in the middle of the terminal was a man smiling faintly down at me. He had jet-black hair, a leather handbag draped over his shoulder, and wore a welcoming disposition. This man was my father, yet I didn't recognize him. But I still received some indication that he was my father, so I rushed over to hug him. Our family was finally complete and I was excited for my future in America.

Six years later, I have become profoundly content with life. I became captain of my school's robotics team, got nominated to become a Broadcom master, and qualified for the county spelling bee. My proudest accomplishment at the time, however, was winning the Reach Scholarship. My teachers agreed to choose me to become our school's finalist for the scholarship. After a couple of interviews and some deliberation, the board chose me to receive the scholarship. I could barely conceal my delight as my teacher informed me that sunny morning that I would not only receive this scholarship but also get to meet Nathan Deal, the governor at the time.

I raced home that day from the bus, nearly tripping over the curb, to hug my parents. I had never even thought about college for more than a passing moment, yet I had already paid for a chunk of it.

Rushing into the living room, I zipped open my backpack and snatched the scholarship forms. With bright eyes, I presented the forms to my parents.

We sat down to fill out the forms as I explained things that didn't need explaining. While my parents were busy writing away, I imagined meeting Governor Deal and shaking his hand. The thrill I felt made me feel unstoppable.

Pausing for a moment, my father set the pen down on the table.
"We can't fill out this form," he said solemnly, pointing at a small box halfway down the page. It read those horrid words: social security number.

My heart sank.
Being undocumented meant we had no social security number no driver's license, and no permanent residency. Nothing.

With a heavy heart, I withdrew from the scholarship.

My ambitions then felt like nothing more than flying too close to the sun. This tribulation ached my heart for many months.
When it was time to go to high school, I carried with me that mishap. But I soon came to realize something more devastating: my high school was much farther away from my home than my middle school. Since we did not have a driver's license, my father could not drive his car. I had to walk or bike back home from school if I wanted to participate in clubs like robotics or track and field. The distance from my home to my middle school was manageable, but my high school was over three times farther.

I watched as my classmates pursued their passions outside of school, while I was unable to do the same. It seemed like the lack of some silly number was slowly destroying what it meant to be me. With this new burden hanging on my soul, I confined myself and my sorrows to my home.

One quiet day, I arose from my bed to the patter of the rain on unyielding tiles as the clock's shorthand tickled seven. Lulled by the rain, I ventured out of my arid room. Each of my steps sunk deeper into the carpet until I inched the front door open. My ears held witness to the quiet whispers of the falling rain calling out to me. My gaze followed the streams those fallen droplets formed on the ground. Further down that pewter sidewalk, the streams converged in a rippling fury of thrashing water with such focus that they seemed intent to pound through anything in their path. The falling rain continued to add to the streams as I kept my arms outstretched to my sides, level with my shoulders, and wrists angling down. It was then that I resolved to awaken truly. No matter the firmness of the cage I become confined to or the number of Herculean stones in my path, I intended to refuse idleness. My life would not be summed up in a five-act tragedy; no, I intended to become more and do more.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,797 4780  
Sep 23, 2022   #2
The essay lost its focus midway. The context that the writer grew up in has to refer to the realization that they are undocumented immigrants, something that may have been overlooked when they first arrived. How did the lack of Social Security number alter his perception of his future? Since so much of his life in America hinges on that number, how did it affect his plans for his own future? His plans for attending college? There are several aspects of importance in terms of character and life development that the writer did not touch on in this presentation. It is because of the further lack of assessment and insight that the last paragraph, though touching and moving in dramatized emphasis, does not work to pull the essay altogether into a full circle.
lt3737 1 / 2  
Sep 23, 2022   #3
I think you should touch up more on how the lack of a social security number affected your plans for the future. I also think that you should include more about how this changed you as a person and remove some of the parts about you felt after finding out you didn't have a social security number (like in the last paragraph). Best of luck!
OP saady1519 1 / 1  
Sep 27, 2022   #4
Thanks for the feedback, my teacher said the same thing. I'll be sure to edit it.

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