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My journey began when I was in the third grade; CENTRAL TO IDENTITY

kunell 2 / 2 1  
Nov 22, 2013   #1
Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I wouldn't be the driven, confident and ambitious person I am today, had I not gone through the experiences I am about to share. Typically, people don't go through periods of great impact or life altering change at such a young age, but my journey began when I was in just the third grade; I was nine years old when my mom told me that my family and I were moving to Israel. Now you may be able to imagine the reaction of a nine year old to a statement like this, and if you cant, well then let me fill you in. There was a lot of shock, a lot of questions, and definitely a lot of tears. Which seemed understandable at the time because I was going to be leaving my best friends, and how could I survive without my best friends?! This of course was the thought process of a 9-year-old girl, who had lived a fairly average life up until this point. Little did I know that this would be the most beneficial experience of my life.

Prior to our big move, I knew very little about Israel. Well, to be honest, I knew very little about anywhere outside of my hometown. When I pictured Israel, I pictured a desert; dirt roads, camels, and people living in tents. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my idea of Israel, was not even close to what it's actually like.

Israel was beautiful. It was surprisingly modern yet it still had that rich sense of history and culture to it. And growing up there was incredible. My first year there was a little difficult. I had gone to a Jewish private school back in Kansas, my hometown, where we did learn Hebrew. But I had only been taught the basics, which was certainly not enough to keep a conversation going. But what I did then is like they always say, "You learn through experience". So through forcing myself to have conversations completely in Hebrew, with some assistance along the way, I was able to become practically fluent by my second year in Israel. And I distinctively remember how proud I was that I could not only recite, but also understand the prayers I read at school every morning.

Once I was able to communicate more effectively, I started becoming more involved in the community. And one of the great aspects of living in Israel was the sense of freedom you had. Since Israel is so small, almost everything is within walking distance. And at that time it was perfectly safe to do so. So I did. At the age of 10 or 11 my sister and I would walk to school, to temple, to gymnastics, and to whatever other activities or organizations we were involved in. That feeling of freedom and independence was simply incredible.

I would have to say that my view on religion changed the most because of our move. Now to completely understand what I am about to say, you should know that on certain Jewish holidays, there are rules that traditionally observant Jews follow. One of those rules is not to drive on that given holiday. In Kansas, very few Jews observed this rule. So you can imagine my surprise when on one of those holidays, I walked outside of my apartment in Israel, to find no cars in the street. And I mean zero. Now this may or may not seem like a big deal. But to a 10 or 11-year-old girl, this was amazing. People were walking in the streets, kids were playing in them, and it was that sense of community that I loved so much. That's what I loved about religion, that no matter where you are in the world, you could theoretically still have a connection with someone through your faith. The sense that one holiday could bring a whole city together. It's a feeling that's really difficult to describe. Honestly, it's like in that one moment I felt completely connected to the world. And at that time I wasn't able to label that feeling. But when I think back to that moment, that's the only way I can think to explain it. And from that moment on, Judaism became a part of me.
Pahan 1 / 1,906 553  
Nov 22, 2013   #2
You enjoy lots of freedom when answering for this prompt as this prompt is giving you permission to write about anything since the words "background" and "story" are pretty vague. So you can adopt any style you wish, but this story should tell what is "central to [your] identity," and it needs to make your application more complete. Let's have a look at the following;

I say this now, to emphasize how much these experiences have shaped me, and how they have forever changed the way I view the world.

I feel this is not really necessary as the admission panel expects you to tell them a story that had a major impact on your life, and possibly changed you as a person. You can use that word allocation to add more important things to your story.
xujunjiejack 4 / 7  
Nov 23, 2013   #3
After reading, I like what you say about the religion, and know the holidays in Isreal. I think you should point out your identity more clearly at the first paragraph. Maybe you are helpful, persistant, and fond of the community and religion. Then show your identity by telling a bit more about what you have done under the belief of Judaism in Isreal.

Besides,I feel a little strange about this sentence:

But like they say, "You learn through experience", and that's exactly what I did.

Maybe you can change it into:' But what I did then is like they always say" You learn through experience".' and you may add how you learn through experience(if the words numbers allow)

This is my first post, and I hope that it can help you.

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