Other than through classes in school, in what areas (non academic) have you acquired knowledge or skills? How?
As a student, I have taken part in many after school and summer programs. These programs not only helped me improve my English, but also prepared me for college and life beyond. My involvement in summer research programs at universities has given me the opportunity to discover new aspects of science. Likewise, my involvement in community service activities has enabled me to perceive the world differently. By giving back to my community, I have learned important life lessons. One of those lessons is that even the smallest actions can make a difference. These lessons are essentials that one cannot simply acquire from sitting in a classroom. They must be acquired by being out in the world and experiencing the vividness of life.
For example, taking part in the HIRES-CUNY research program opened my eyes to all the great wonders of science. I learned about the many career choices that exist in the field of science. It is through this experience that I learned about a career in Aeronautical Engineering and applied mathematics. Furthermore, I learned how to work collaboratively in groups to accomplish an important goal. Learning this skill not only strengthened my work ethic, but also made the quality of my work much better. By working side by side with college professors and PhD science mentors, I have been able to pick up research and presentation skills. Some of the presentation skills that I have learned include: never losing sight of one's audience, always projecting one's voice, and maintaining good body posture. Although these skills may seem simple to carry out, they are not so simple for me, especially when I am presenting in front of an audience. However, the confidence that my mentors have instilled in me has allowed me to face these situations with confidence. With respect to research, some of the skills that I have obtained include: analyzing data, using laboratory microscopes, employing data on GIS (Geographic Information System), and acquiring computer science skills with python. Developing these skills has helped me become a better prepared, college bound student.
My participation in community service activities has empowered me to reach out to those around me. Whether it is by helping to clean up my neighborhood, volunteering at the local tutoring center, or helping to clean up parks, I have realized that being involved in helping others is a great way to learn. Through my involvement in community service, I have been able to cement strong values that will serve me in college and beyond.
Overall, these extracurricular opportunities have helped me grow tremendously. Through my participation in college research programs and community service activities, I have been able to handle ambiguity in the work field and be more open to change. Working in these settings has exposed me to different people and different working styles. This has been one of the most rewarding things that I have acquired by simply getting involved.