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'the culture and diversity that surrounds our lives' - CMU Precollege Diversity Essay


cervidae 1 / -  
Mar 11, 2012   #1
Essay #1 - a one-page, typed statement about what you as an individual would bring to Carnegie Mellon Summer Programs for Diversity to build a widely diverse community.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.8% of U.S. residents identify as someone of Asian descent. I often find myself a bit lost, not because I am a minority but because I find myself in the overwhelming 80% of -retracted-. As a result, the school has adopted some stereotypically Asian qualities. The math and science departments are quite strong, as a large part of the student population regards them as the two most important subjects, which can probably be attributed to parental influence. Though our football players train hard, the team is dismally bad, whereas the badminton team typically finishes the season undefeated. Students are often complaining (read: bragging) about how little sleep they got last night or how they killed a forest due to intense note taking.

I am in no way ashamed of my background, but I was not particularly fond of my environment. It is fortunate that I am not subject to racial slurs and taunts that many Asian Americans face on a daily basis, but instead, I am under pressure from my fellow brethren to take as many AP courses as possible, pull off a 5.0 GPA, and score a 2400 on the SAT. I hated that when I said I was from -retracted-, people wondered what I was doing outside, as I should probably be at home studying like a "real" -retracted- student. I was bored with the monochrome surrounding me.

I came to a realization though. The familiarity of my surroundings had bred complacency in me. Looking at the big picture, I realized how diverse my community actually is and how lucky I am to be a part of it. My Bangladeshi friends and I discuss election news, last week's 30 Rock episode, and our different cultural customs that are oddly similar over a plate of the spiciest samosas in town. An Indian friend religiously follows English and Spanish soccer, or if I may, football. Even among the seeming homogeneity my Chinese friends, there is a spectrum; some of us are Taiwanese, some are Mainland Chinese, while others prefer to be identified as Cantonese or from Hong Kong. Our discussions on Taiwan's status as a country are passionate to say the least. Even more than race, though, it is our experiences in life that bring diversity. I was fortunate to have the chance to interview one of my father's friends for a school project. He spoke about his experiences with racism as a young African American boy living in the Deep South, seeing his Japanese friends taken away from him in San Francisco after Executive Order 9066, joining the Air Force shortly after desegregation, and the doubt that minorities are subject to in the workplace. I also had the chance to meet an urgent care doctor who enthusiastically recalled his youth at UC Berkeley during the 60's. Being able to actually speak to those lived through events that are now confined to the dusty pages of a textbook was eye opening.

To Carnegie Mellon, I bring a sense of wonder, a greater appreciation, towards the culture and diversity that surrounds our lives. I, myself, am a product of diversity, a melding of Taiwanese and American traditions. I hope to meet many other individuals from all over the Unites States and the world. I come to share my experiences as an Asian American, as both a minority and majority, as an artist and musician, but, more importantly, I come to learn about the people around me and, in turn, myself. I'll bring a piece of my Silicon Valley with me to the Steel City, to a much bigger community.

I need help mostly with answering the prompt. I feel like I've somewhat hit it, but probably didn't divulge into "what I bring" part as much as I should. Anyway, thanks in advance to anyone that helps!
hgrierson 8 / 11  
Mar 26, 2012   #2
Excellent essay. I think you cover the prompt quite well. Perhaps, the only thing I could think, is to integrate what you bring to the program into the essay more, instead of clumping it all at the end. Like, when you discuss all the diversity your friends have, integrate how you have a sense of wonder and appreciation in regards to that into the paragraph.

Help me too, if you can!
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Mar 26, 2012   #3
Honestly I think this is wonderful and I went over it with a fine-tooth comb. You might consider adding a few more of your interests, hobbies, maybe some strengths and weaknesses just to make it more personal but all in all it's great.

Have fun in school and good luck


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