Prompt: Rutgers University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment?
It was a Sunday afternoon, the sky was as cloudless and sunless as it could ever be. I was sitting on the steps watching a few friends play basketball while resting from the intense game. This was the sight I saw 5 years ago in my old home of Trenton, New Jersey; some say the "ghetto."
My name is Wenji Pan, a first generation Chinese immigrant. I am well aware that Rutgers contains a community of people whom share the same cultural background, but my personal experiences are what differentiate me from those who appear similar. Even though I may seem like an average Chinese student coming from Princeton Junction, an area where the majority is Asian, my thoughts and ideas are far from what's expected of me.
From the age of five, I grew up in an area filled with African Americans, Latinos, and many other subcultures. Rarely would I see an Asian American present with the rare exception of a Chinese restaurant owner; I being one of them. My family owns a Chinese restaurant that is open twelve hours a day and even more so weekends. No shifts or breaks, just pure grueling, hard work in the kitchen for hours at a time. (add why you think this makes you special/individual)
After living in Trenton for about a decade, I had learned about the cultures, attitudes, and even some Spanish phrases from my Hispanic friends. These experiences have helped me build a high acceptance for people in different ethnic groups; No matter where an individual is from, he will always think the same, yet express his feelings differently.
Not many teenagers have the responsibility of paying the bills at home, but my household works otherwise. Although I don't necessarily work night and day, but that I help my family organize the finances, review important documents, and pay off bills because my mother doesn't understand English very well. It's hard work, however; the work and effort has helped me develop real world finance skills and experience. Very few of my friends have accomplished something I mastered at the age of 10.
Asides from doing my part for my family and living in such a diverse town, I have a strong passion for dance. Coming from an area that has its own musical influence, I listen to hip hop and other types of underground music. After watching Youtube music video that incorporated very interesting hip hop dance moves, I was inspired to start dancing. Looking up tutorials and practicing until I was satisfied was just a normal part of my day.
As I moved on to high school, I began to experiment with sports that I never had the opportunity to play before, with Frisbee being the one that ultimately made the biggest impact in my life. I started out with absolutely no idea about how to throw a disc, catch a disc, or even know how to run a play in the game of Ultimate Frisbee. However I managed to overcome my weaknesses in the game and refine my skills as a player.
Here I am now, event manager of a dance crew, a starter for my Ultimate Frisbee team, and a senior in high school who pays bills and works twelve-hour shifts. I believe that because of these attributes, I can contribute to Rutgers' diverse mix of culture regardless of how many others share the same background as me. As much as I have been exposed to so many types of people in such a short time, I feel that enrolling in Rutgers University would continue to help me learn more about different cultures and traditions that I haven't been appreciate yet.