Please have a look over my essay. It's the optional essay and the application is due tomorrow.
I'm not too concerned with it, but if anyone can offer some quick fixes, I would greatly appreciate it.Optional Essay
In addition to the two required essays, some applicants choose to submit a response to Essay C. Essay C is optional and cannot be submitted in place of a required essay. Students submitting Essay C do so in order to submit additional information to the university about special circumstances, such as socio-economic standing; educational goals; cultural background; employment, internships, etc.; race or ethnicity; personal experiences and hardships; personal responsibilities; and any additional information submitted by the applicant.Embracing Adversity as a First Generation American
I've always been referred to as the American brat of my family. Being the only daughter of three siblings - fifteen years younger than my eldest brother and born after my parents immigrated to the United States - it was somewhat inevitable that I would be raised in a cocoon of Guyanese culture. Within my home, I practiced Guyanese values and customs, like removing my shoes before entering the house, and tending to the men of my family. However, outside of my home, I was in a totally different world. I could wear my shoes wherever I wanted to. Men and women were regarded as equal. But when my experiences away from my family began to follow me back home, I was forced to fight a cultural battle that could never be won.
As a child, I was embarrassed of my family's culture because I did not understand why I was so different from everyone around me. Everything about me felt American; my accent, the foods I ate, the clothes I wore, the music I listened to, even the activities I enjoyed participating in - but my parents ensured me that I was Guyanese. I was been torn between the boundaries of two distinct cultures and long struggled to find my ideological niche.
When my father suffered from a massive aneurysm during my first year of high school, it was my responsibility to facilitate his recovery, as it was culturally expected of me, being his only female offspring. In order to help restore the order only my father could bestow upon my family, I made many sacrifices during my high school years. At the time when most others my age were trying to discover their individuality and gain independence from their family, I was doing just the opposite.
My father's illness compelled me to silence my own individual tastes and become even closer to my family. It angered me that while all my friends were going out to parties and taking road trips; I was stuck with my family, caring for my father. I became depressed and started to lose interest in school. I went from being the friendly Caribbean girl on Honor Roll with perfect attendance to the gloom Indian girl with the "crazy family". I spent my days wondering what I did to deserve my situation. My family's bizarre customs had already left me conflicted, and my father's sickness and refusal to be cared for in a hospital made my situation even more complex.
At the time, I was too consumed by my own sorrow to fully understand the consequences of my evasion of schoolwork. At this point, it did not bother me. I wanted out. I wanted to have the life that other Americans had. My family knew I was American, they just couldn't accept it. All the while, my dreams of attaining a college education at the University of Texas were quickly fading away. I watched my long-time classmates receive their Texas acceptance letters and scribble out their dorm-furniture shopping lists. My friends had already stopped inviting me to events. Instead of going out with friends, I was working a full-time job to help support my family because my father could not work. I also became my mother's taxi because in Guyana, the older generations of women do not drive.
At this point, I had to grow up very quickly. I figured that being the perfect student would have to be put on hold until my family matters were sorted, and that after my father recovered, I could try to make my dream of going to the University of Texas come true. I decided to take online courses so I would still be enrolled in school, but my hectic situation pressed me to put emphasis on other matters. After putting friends aside, I became aware of my capabilities of being a full-time college student, full-time employee and caretaker of my family. I, in no way, regret the hardships I've endured, as they have enabled me to push myself to my greatest limit.
Maintaining a full-time job at an early age allowed me to mingle with many other culturally distinct individuals, enabling me to discover others just like myself. These opportunities also helped me learn to embrace my cultural distinctions, rather than shun them. Now, I love learning about my culture, as well as all others. I feel blessed to have experienced such events that taught me to appreciate all of my efforts and sacrifices. I know that my adversities have, in the end, become advantages for me, strengthening my individual character. Now that my father has made a full recovery and my family is able to support my studies, I am determined that I will be able to have the education at the University of Texas that I've always dreamed of, the same education that my family sacrificed their life in Guyana for.