This is my essay that responds to the prompt:
Tell us a story from your life that helped shape who you are today.
I entered the old house, empty handed, with nothing except my courage. I climbed up the white tiled stairs and felt the rusted stair well beneath my hands. I couldn't believe that someone could actually live in this condition; no air conditioners, no television, not any source of entertainment. I was offered a seat on an aged couch and began to listen as she spoke. She never looked at us while she talked, but she kept her eyes on the floor most of the time, almost as if she was ashamed of herself. But it was me who was the one that should have had her face down and eyes staring at the floor. I was the one who should have felt ashamed.
This story started when we visited unfortunate people as a community service project. I just wanted to get this project over with so I could get a couple of community service hours. I visited a couple of houses, yet the story of this women and her daughter was the one that engraved my heart forever. "Our situation just does not allow it", she said to us when we questioned her intentions on allowing her daughter to continue studying. That same sentence ran through my head a thousand times until I finally remembered the source in where I heard it before. This same sentence was said by my parents a few months ago. I couldn't understand it, why would they be so heartless to not allow me to finish studying abroad. I remembered begging them to let me go; crying my heart out, but they kept saying that same sentence. I never fully understood it until I met this woman. I never got to meet her daughter but I know that each person in the room could feel the pain in her eyes as she spoke. The daughter had recently gone through spinal surgery and was ordered to take a few weeks off school. But she wouldn't do it, she wouldn't miss her final exams, and despite all she went through, she opened the book and started to study. She eventually passed high school, but it was that sentence that prevented her from continuing her studies. At that moment my eyes sunk to the floor and my head suddenly felt heavier that I had no choice but to lower it. I felt so ashamed and so shallow. But after I left the house, this girl made me raise my head back to the sky and ready to face it all. She was my inspiration and she showed me one of the most important lessons I could learn, that despite all the hardships one can face, one can find his dream and follow it, and any obstacle is temporary, that anyone even someone with a spinal injury can jump way up high over these obstacles and reach their final destination. I entered the house empty handed, but left with more than just memories.