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tanyasilva11 10 / 38  
Nov 8, 2010   #1
Prompt 1: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Growing up in Orange County does not guarantee luxury. I am a middle- class Sri Lankan girl from Lake Forest, California. I live a padded life in suburbia. I have a supportive mother who has taught me to reach for the stars and chase after my dreams. My cell phone and my Facebook page constitute half my time. I live the stereotypical Orange County life, but I am much more than what meets the eye. I push past the cultural homogeneousness that surrounds me, and I delve into the reality that lives outside of the Orange Curtain.

My interests in other cultures started at a very young age. Moving to America at the age of 4, I did not fully grasp the cultural differences between Sri Lanka and America. Only when I went back to Sri Lanka 7 years later did I realize how different I was from everyone else because I was raised with different customs. I grew to have a special respect for various cultures when I moved to Orange County. In elementary school, I attended a party at a Japanese friends house where the mom made traditional Japanese food for the guests to enjoy. Back then, this meant little to me, but looking back it was these small things that encouraged me to look beyond the typical Orange County existence. I met my first Sri Lankan friend in high school. She and I come from opposite sides of the island so it was interesting to see how her childhood differed from mine. Her area was more rural so everything from our mode of transportation to our traditional dinner was different. Even with being born on the same, tiny island our customs vary widely. One of my friends lived in Saudi Arabia until she was 13, and another friend lived in Colombia until he was 11. I love hearing their stories about the homeland and comparing their customs with those of Sri Lanka. My diverse group of friends have showed me how every culture is connected to each other in some small way.

My enthusiasm about world affairs was driven by my Contemporary World Issues class. During our Children's Rights unit we learned about the hardships that innocent children must face in third world nations. For example, the children in Uganda cannot roam around their town without the fear of being captured by the LRA, and mothers in Cambodia live in constant anxiety that their daughters will be kidnapped by child traffickers. It is unimaginable how scary the world is for these children. They have no control of or protection from the economic and political instability in their countries. Therefore I believe that Americans should

take initiative to help people, especially children, in developing countries.

The summer before senior year, a friend and I decided to start a UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) Club to advocate for impoverished children. As a leader I felt it was my job to step up and show our school what life outside of the Orange County bubble is like. Many students at El Toro High School do not know what it is like to go to bed on a empty stomach; therefore, we decided to throw a Hunger Banquet to show students what the real world is like. Upon entrance, guests were stratified randomly into high, middle, or low income groups. They were fed based on their income; so high income got the most food at a nice table, middle income got some food at a dirty table, and low income were ostracized and seated on cardboard boxes with some rice and beans for dinner. We got the audience emotionally hooked by showing a video on the terrible diseases children obtain from malnutrition and the lack of clean water and by the end of the night we raised over $450 to help unprivileged children.

The Hunger Banquet and my knowledge from Contemporary World Issues has taught me to be open minded and think about other cultures and societies and how they are different than what is inside the Orange Curtain. Life is so beautiful and many times I, along with many of my classmates, take that for granted. I feel lucky to live such a blessed life, but I can only be happy with myself if I try to help those less fortunate than myself. Helping can be as simple as advocating for the cause amongst your friends or throwing a school wide function to raise funds and awareness. Even the smallest thing helps so I fully intend on continuing my humanitarian work for years to come.

Prompt 2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?


This world is full of an overwhelming amount of negativity, so I am happy to say that my positive outlook on life has allowed me to view the good in everything. I always encourage people to look on the bright side and laugh when life gets tough. My philosophy is that life is unpredictable and unchangeable so there is no reason to dwell on things we cannot control. I am thankful for the gift of life, and I want to inspire people to appreciate the beauty surrounding us.

I greatly dislike when my friends are sad or angry, so I would be glad to risk my intellectuality by cracking a few jokes or singing a happy tune in order to make them happy. I know what it is like to feel down in the dumps, so I sympathize with people and am always ready to lend an ear for their problems. When my best friend and her boyfriend broke up after two years, I knew I had to do major damage control. I took her out to our favorite frozen yogurt place and we talked for almost three hours. She left the yogurt shop smiling. I love living my life to the fullest, and I fully encourage my peers to do the same. I am proud that I can always be so positive in tough situations, and that I am inclined to go out of my way to make other people smile.

weeshna 1 / 2  
Nov 8, 2010   #2
All in all, i think this is pretty good. i would suggest a hook in the beginning though. i yawned after reading the first sentence. =p

edit: a better hook*
Djonic 1 / 5  
Nov 10, 2010   #3
I think that you should change homogeneousness to homogeneity.

As far as the second prompt I think you should focus more on that specific event with your sister and make that the major them of the essay. and perhaps instead of saying you philosophy on life is unchangeable (paraphrase), you should say that you try to focus on what you can change rather then dwelling on what you cannot. Just a though.

Both essays are very good by the way! :)
OP tanyasilva11 10 / 38  
Nov 10, 2010   #4
thank you :)
i will work on expanding about the story of my best friend.
i have to keep this essay under 250 words so it's a little difficult to add everything in.
jenniferxau - / 3  
Nov 10, 2010   #5
Hi Sakuni! I also live in Orange County! :) But anyways! I had a UCI reader come to my school and give us some advice. So one of the things she said was: This is absolutely not an essay. So I think you should change the paragraph format so you can view your essay the same way the UC reader views it (a block of words). Also try to narrow down your essay to 500 & 500 because if you have an essay that is 300 words it may look like you didn't care much about one towards the other. GOOD LUCK on your personal statement and hope this helped!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 18, 2010   #6
...constitute occupy half my time.

homogeneousness homogeneity

... a party at a Japanese friend's house where the mom made traditional Japanese food for the guests to enjoy

During the summer before senior year, a friend and I decided to start a UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) Club to advocate for children living in poverty. ---This is excellent!! I wish you would write a little more about this project.

The Hunger Banquet and knowledge from Contemporary World Issues has have taught me to be ....

Congratulations!! This is a good one!