We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors caused you to grow?
Hearing the bomb explode left me petrified. We could feel the the trembling of the structure as the glass shattered from every window. The rancid smell of dust and decay from the smoke overpowered our senses. There my family and I sat around a computer monitor 8,000 miles away from our relatives in Syria, sitting in shock as my eleven year old cousin tried to reassure us that they were fine despite the tears rolling down his cheeks. We had lived that moment with them, not knowing whether they had lived through it. Never in my life have I experienced such despair and hopelessness, wishing there was something, anything, to make a difference.
Growing up with parents born and raised in Syria, we were always expected to be informed, studious, and dedicated. To my parents, being informed and knowledgeable about the world was the most important of all three. They strongly believed that ignorance was the deadliest weapon of humankind. From a young age, I had developed a curiosity with Middle-Eastern politics that was kindled due to my parents obsession with Al Jazeera- a popular Middle-Eastern based news source. I was both fascinated and angered at how some western sources would easily dismiss events that were basically massacres or mass oppressions. I would compare sources, such as Fox News to Al Jazeera, and would become frustrated at how they would only provide a small explanation about situations. Sometimes I would even combine the evidence from both sources and write my own piece in an attempt to create a balanced overview of the situation. Once I had even shared one of my articles with my sixth grade classmates, giving them a ten minute speech about what was going on between Gaza and Israel in 2008.
As I grew up it wasn't only Middle-Eastern events that I followed, but I also tried to stay up to date with the history and events that were affecting my friends and peers who originated from countries such as Mexico, Bosnia, and Korea. Entering high school, it was only natural that I was drawn to my school's speech and debate team. It was the primary outlet that allowed me to explore new topics and argue for my position. It was a perfect compromise that fulfilled a passion and an extracurricular activity.
I was determined to preserve the precious "studious" trait, and yearned for success. Staying true to their family oriented upbringing, my parents were extremely supportive and involved in every decision I undertook. Despite the little knowledge they had about the educational system here in America, their blind support was exactly what I needed to fuel my determination. Nonetheless, my research concerning current events continued. My primary interests at this point revolved around the Arab Spring, specifically Syria. When we would visit there were always things we were forbidden to speak of, tainted with an ominous aura. We never pointed out the posters of Assad that were plastered on every corner, nor the military checkpoints we passed by on a regular basis. I began to assume that this was their normal way of life and everyone was content with it. Due to this veil of ignorance, I turned a blind eye to the countless beggars and families living on the street. I was oblivious to the rising tension, yet till this day I am still able to see the positivity and happiness emanating from the communities. When I talk to my younger cousins they're all smiles and laughter as they describe their day of tree climbing and frog catching. Through them I see that the future generations of Syria have not lost hope, and are determined to fight for justice.
In spite of the chaos occurring now;doctors, medics, and pharmacists are the ones have remained determined and selfless in order to help civilians. Outrageously, they were persecuted by the government for adhering to their moral and professional obligations of treating the injured and sick; regardless of race, religion, or political affiliations. I had previously believed that journalists were the ones that had the largest impact on our society. They were the ones that had the power of knowledge and communication- the ones that could make a difference. However, I began to see physicians through a different perspective since only they could have an immediate life changing impact with their patients and the public. They have the knowledge that can prolong life and and the ability to evoke hope even after everything may be lost . Each time I would read about their secret clinics or about successful operations conducted with the most primitive medical tools, I was always left awestricken and inspired.
Towards the end of my sophomore year, the events going on in Syria had drastically gained momentum and I wished more than anything to make a difference [is this repetitive?]. I immediately began to take my school work much more seriously. I registered in more rigorous classes and finalized my decision to partake in the International Baccalaureate Programme. I became more deeply involved in our school's Red Cross club, participated in the local Syrian American Council in order to bring awareness to the public. I took all of these steps not only due to my personal interests, but also in hopes of getting into an excellent university where I could enter the field of biology and medicine to explore the means of preserving life and helping those left to deal with injustice through distinguished organizations such as "Doctors Without Borders."
Of the three traits I value determination above all. You can never let yourself down or give up hope when you're determined, you can only amaze yourself with how far you are willing to go to achieve your goals. My determination is an unmistakable part of my identity that has lead me to where I am today and to where I want to be in the future.
I'm about 200 words over the limit, if you see anything unecessary please tell me!
How do I make it more "tighter" and concise so everything flows better?
Thank you in advance