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Describe and illustrate ways you have sought knowledge and commitment to service

Spelbound2010 1 / 6  
Jan 2, 2010   #1
Jasmine Barnes

Prompt: Seeking knowledge and commitment to service are integral parts of the Spelman experience. Discuss and illustrate the ways in which you have shown your commitment to these areas.

As I sat in Philosophy class pondering on my reading assignment, I came across a quote that would eventually develop into a mystifying and intriguing fixation. I skimmed through the lines of Plato's dialogue, Apology, stumbled through line 38a, and became mentally ensnared by its eloquence in expressing the famous quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living". I went home that night and thought privately; I thought about the meaning of this quote and it carried me to a familiar place. In my room, I had a chance to reflect on my life and rightfully examine it in great depth; in an attempt to inspire someone to believe in the power of faith and perseverance, here's my story:

As I walked through the doors of Olney High School, I felt a sense of uncertainty and uneasiness. Like many other kids my age, I approached this new environment nervously. I made it through elementary school with good grades and poor attendance, a result of my family moving around so much. By the ninth grade, we settled in west Philadelphia and I looked forward to my high school years with great expectations for my future. I survived a few months at Olney High School, and then transferred to my neighborhood school seeking better opportunities. I enrolled in University City High School for the remaining months of my ninth grade school year, and, while things had become much better at school, things at home begun to go sour. My family had seen rough times at this point and just when we thought our struggle was over, as soon as we got comfortable, my mother informed us that she had relapsed earlier that year. Life became increasingly difficult. Surprisingly, I was able to maintain my grades and keep a clear conscience long enough to finish my ninth grade year. It seemed as if my life had started on this downward spiral. My mother and father were trapped within a life of addiction, the only role models I had disappointed me. I felt hopeless, and the only person I had to turn to was God. My faith was my only source of strength, but I was not strong enough to handle my circumstances and continue to thrive academically. I looked around me and life as I knew it was falling apart. The pressure from my personal life along with trying to fight for my education and maintain my sanity was no match for me. I dropped out of High School in the middle of my tenth grade year and settled for working a part time job at Wendy's.

Working hard kept me occupied and I had become accustomed to being out of school. Usually, I would go to work and come home to be with my family, we were still facing our giants, and, at that time, things had not changed much. It did not take long for me to grow weary of working, I was very frustrated and I wanted my life back. During this time, my aunt informed me about a program for High School drop-outs called Gateway to College, located on the campus of the Community College of Philadelphia. Gateway to College is a rigorous dual enrollment program funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Qualified students are High School drop-outs between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two, and current residents of Philadelphia. Gateway to College allows students to receive High School and College Credits simultaneously. After a long, mind numbing admissions process, I was accepted into Gateway to College and began classes in the fall semester of 2007.

Since being accepted into Gateway to College, I have risen to meet the challenge. In the classroom and through much advisement, I am learning how to think for myself and articulate my viewpoints effectively. Life is an ever learning process; I am committed to refining myself through self education and awareness of my gifts, talents, and effectiveness of service to others. Gateway to College has prepared me to embrace the obstacles coupled with success and to never quit, no matter how large or difficult the task may be. To date, I have earned forty five college credits and twenty two High School credits; I will be graduating May of 2010.

When I was given an opportunity to change my current circumstances by getting my education and believing in myself, I seized it and made the best of it. Now that I have been blessed as a student at Gateway to College, I realize how important it is for me to chase my dreams and continue to reach greater heights and deeper depths. Spelman College has always been my dream. I have fought through tremendous obstacles and have become an advocate for educational re-engagement and academic success within my community by becoming a student ambassador and volunteering at my church and the Community College of Philadelphia. I am not only dedicated to my own success, but also to the success and visions of other young people like me who have faced insurmountable odds. Everyone has potential and everyone has the ability to succeed when placed in the right position. When I left High School, I never thought I would have the opportunity to capture my dreams again, and now that I realize that life is full of struggles, twists, and turns, I am ready and willing to fight for my vision of success. From the high expectations of its students to a long list of notable alumnae who have inspired the world and still continues to do so, Spelman inspires me to be a better person. I am ready to carry the torch and go forth and serve; to develop my gifts and also help someone else realize their potential and ability to achieve in life. The greatest success for me would be to serve my community and reach all of my spiritual, educational, and personal goals; nothing in this world would bring me more happiness.

As a result of prayers and faith, many tears and hard work, I survived. In the end, I emerged as an independent, strong, intelligent, young black woman. I am community minded, spiritual, and very optimistic of the future of my generation. I hold myself responsible for our success as a people. As I was always told, nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. I owe my family and my community, those who raised and believed in me when I did not have the strength to believe in myself, success and service. My younger sister and family members, the generation after me, deserve positive role models. They deserve people who shared the same lot as themselves, fought through, and broke those barriers. I know God has a plan for my life. I trust with all of my heart that I was created to do something positive; to lift my voice and tell my story, praying that someone in the same position I was in receives that message and believes that, with God, all things are possible.
marycornell 2 / 19  
Jan 2, 2010   #2
This is an AMAZING life story and very personal. I really give you props for writing such a personal story then posting it on the web. That takes bravery.

Well, even though it was long, I kept reading till the end.
It was a touching story and wonderfully written.
This is even worthy to be published in a book like Chicken Soup for the Soul. :D

All I can tell you is to keep it up!
And I really hope you get in.
Good luck!
OP Spelbound2010 1 / 6  
Jan 2, 2010   #3
thank you so much!!! I hope I get in too, lol.
OP Spelbound2010 1 / 6  
Jan 2, 2010   #4
NEED HELP!!!Please read and make necessary corrections, willing to return the favor...
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 11, 2010   #5
As I sat in Philosophy class pondering on my...

Use a comma for this compound sentence:
Working hard kept me occupied, and I had become accustomed to being out of school.

This is great writing; I just think it might be possible to tighten it up by expressing your ideas in fewer words. Also, with some sentences, you should "show" the reader your mindset by stating a specific intention; for example, in this sentence, rather than speaking generally you can tell specific intentions about your plans for the future or current practice of helping particular people or groups:

I am not only dedicated to my own success, but also to the success and visions of other young people like me who have faced insurmountable odds. Everyone has potential and everyone has the ability to succeed when placed in the right position. ----- in writing, a common expression is "show, don't tell." That means you should express intentions and give examples rather than just making assertions like this one. It is hard, though!


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