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"We are about to be homeless" - Common app personal essay

Amatis250 3 / 5  
Nov 15, 2017   #1
Common app personal essay, I talked about the story of my life but I am not sure it is the way to approach the question. Any advice would be welcomed,

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Rwanda - My personal story

Rwanda is called a country of thousand hills, with a beautiful landscape and beautiful people. Despite its beauty, Rwanda has its own problems, both economic and social. After the 1994 Genocide, there were no Tutsis, no Hutus, or Twas. We were all Rwandans. However, there are still some scars and Rwandans who want to live in the past. My personal story is a reality in modern Rwanda, that many Rwandans face.

My learning story started in 2012, after both my parents lost their jobs. First, my dad lost his job after the termination of the Gacaca Tribunal court which tried genocide perpetrators. Then, a few months later, my mom who was the breadwinner, quit her radio director job due to racial threats from her neighbors, employees, and even her boss. In a post-genocide Rwanda, I was convinced that ethnic tensions were done, but apparently not.

When my parents lost their jobs, we started losing everything. Late in 2013, We first moved out of our beautiful home in the suburbs to live in an unpleasant house in one of the most unsafe neighborhoods in Kigali. I was 15 years old then and thought this was a transition situation. I kept telling myself that we will get back to our beautiful, big house soon. At least, that is what our parents told us. 2014 is a year I will never forget because I became an adult. By the beginning of 2014, my parents could not afford to pay monthly rent and our school fees.

"We are about to be homeless": we kept saying to each other, me and my brothers. My parents, who are my role models, made one of the toughest decision in their lives, even though they did not have a choice. They decided to move in my mom's best friend house. We moved in another family's house and it was the most inconvenient thing in my life. We were three young adults sleeping in the same bedroom. I had no privacy anymore.

Despite all these difficulties, my older brother managed to finish college, my second brother to finish high school; he is now in college. My parents have a new house, though not as beautiful as the one I grew up in. From my parents having the best jobs of their lives to losing them and our family becoming almost homeless, I had learned two biggest lessons in life: nothing is impossible and that a friend in need is a friend indeed. I never could imagine how generous my mom's friend and her husband were to let us live with them, not just one person but a whole family with all their belongings (I guess we did not have a lot at that time).
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,000 3875  
Nov 15, 2017   #2
Aime, I can understand why you felt that this essay would have been right on the mark with regards to the prompt requirements. The problem is, the essay focuses more on the story of your parents and how they survived, with only a slight reference to you on a personal basis. There is no true reference to a period of personal growth on your part or an understanding of yourself or others. What I read is the story of how your family survived a crisis. What the essay needs you to do is present a story of growth and maturity because of what your family was undergoing. How does this relate to a matured mindset for you? How did this experience change who you were to who you are today? I need to see a sense of character development in the essay. Not just a kid who was constantly pining for what was lost and who learned to settle for what was given. In the end, I need to learn how you changed for the better and how this has affected your mindset as you approach your college days.
OP Amatis250 3 / 5  
Nov 15, 2017   #3
Thanks very much @Holt,
Isabellaalmeida 11 / 26 5  
Nov 15, 2017   #4

Your story is pretty impressive.
I totally agree with @Holt. You should tell more about yourself, your aspirations, what you learned from that situation and how it influences who you are today.

You should also explore more the idea that "nothing is impossible and that a friend in need is a friend indeed".

I wish you the best of luck on your application!

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