Diversity to me is an intrinsic part of life. It lies in all areas of life, ranging from social to working to even leisure. One who displays diversity, I feel shows much potential and flexibility of abilities. Diversity allows one always find his or her right place in society irrespective of the situation. Hence, developing this want for diversity at a young age is an essential in the highly competitive world today. However in order to experience and realize the importance of diversity in one's life, one must be first exposed to it.
Fortunately enough, I was given this exposure from a rather young age. Despite of living in a small town in India, my parents always valued holistic development over any other kind. With this mindset, I was put into a Christian Convent school, which had a European faculty. Hence, though I am a Hindu, I was exposed to Christianity at a young age. After studying there for a few years, my family moved to Indonesia which gave me a new opportunity to broaden my horizons of diversity. I studied in an international school which in my belief truly embodies the idea of diversity. With class mates from countries such as Hungary, Yugoslavia, Turkey and United Kingdom, I was given more experience than I was prepared for. The school was not only diverse in the ethnicities but also in other areas such as the curriculum they offered. Their curriculum gave me a good exposure to subjects such as all the sciences, art, computer studies and all the humanities. Juggling over eight varying subjects coupled with extra curricular activities of computer club, choir and the Indian dance club was truly giving me a diverse foundation in my primary education. As I was settling in, the Asian Financial Crisis dawned on the South East Asia and Indonesia being one of the worst hit countries was in much chaos.
Such an economic turmoil caused my family to shift to Singapore. This was the country whose key word was diversity. Being a land of migrants, the heritage, culture, population and even education was immensely diverse. With English as the official language, Malay as the national language and compulsive study of my mother tongues of Hindi, this country gave me many opportunities to expand and engulf myself in it's diversity. The schools were rather divided along lines of merit with the government releasing official rankings every year. Fortunately enough I got the chance to experience all the different kinds of schools since I started off with a rather average neighborhood primary school and then went on to an school of the affluent, Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) and then finally to the school which was all about merit, Raffles Girls' which further led me to Raffles Junior College.
It was the transition from one school to another that gave me the chance of developing and appreciating the diversity around me. At primary school, being slightly inclined towards science and mathematics, I decided to join the robotics club. This club gave me much exposure to the technical makings of a robot and I was made to do extensive courses and numerous opportunities to participate in national robotics competitions. However the interesting fact was that, the competition also required us to ensure the aesthetic appeal of the robot, coming up with posters and taglines that helped to develop my creative instincts. As I continued to SCGS, I took up another co-curricular activity of badminton. I had never been in a sports activity though exposure to games during physical education was a regular part of the school curriculum. This gave me a new experience in developing skills in a sport which I thought was almost similar to learning new software in the computer club. Over the 2 years at SCGS, I did numerous activities such as participating in chess competitions, robotics competitions, mathematical Olympiad, organizing the open house activities of the computer society and many more. After the 8th grade, I was given the choice of changing my school to either NUS High School of Mathematics and Science or Raffles Girls Secondary School (RGS) or to stay in SCGS. With my addiction for changes and capitalizing on opportunities, I decided to shift to RGS.
This school gave me the opportunity to explore myself beyond my conventional niches of the sciences. Though I decided to take up the science stream with triple science and double math, I was also given the opportunity to study geography, social studies and the best of all, philosophy. To further stretch myself, I decided to double up my extra-curricular activity of robotics with debate. Though the conventional technical science student was not expected to participate in debates actively, I wanted to explore and develop this skill of public speaking. Hence I felt that debate was the perfect opportunity for me to develop my confidence, public speaking skills and simultaneously keep awareness about current issues. When my team won the championship for an inter-school community debate, I was further encouraged to develop my skills in the area of public speaking. As I was presented with more opportunities, I went on the take the position of the deputy speaker of the school Congress which played the role of a bridge between the student body and the school administration. I concluded my two years in RGS with a truly memorable convention that was organized for young women's leaders around the world. This gave me the opportunity to interact and learn from students who had come from other countries such as Thailand, Australia and China. All the leaders were well rounded in each of their fields. This made the numerous activities together much more enriching as we shared and reflected upon the diversity of our experiences.
Finally I went on to Raffles Junior College (RJC) which proved to be more than merely an educational institution for me. At RJC, I got the opportunity to study economics for the first. It was then that I discovered my true interest. Initially, like any other typical student, I used to like the subject that I could do the best at. However, exposure to economics started off in a different direction. For the first three terms, economics was the worst out of my 8 subjects. Inspite of that, it remained as my favorite. As we went into greater details and understandings of economics, appreciation for it increased and so did my performance. RJC not only gave me the opportunity to study economics but also higher mathematics. Since young, my inclination towards math led me to opt for the study of higher mathematics at school. It gave me the exposure that I feel was required for me to decide if I wanted to continue to study math as my majors in the university. This subject was immensely enriching however at the same time much demanding. At high school, it is essential for any student to not only be aspiring but also rational and pragmatic at the same time. In order to gain maximum enrichment, I continued with higher mathematics until the last term of school. I then made a decision of dropping it since I felt that I had gained what I had set out to achieve and it would only be logical for me to then focus on my core A-level subjects first.
Besides offering academic diversity, RJC allowed me to further develop my public speaking abilities. At RJC, I joined the Gavel Club. This club was affiliated to the International Toastmaster's club and gave me the perfect platform to enhance my public speaking skills. It allowed me to develop as an impromptu speaker and thereby enhance my communication skill which is one of the keys to being successful in business. I was also presented with other diverse opportunities to practice these speaking skills at events such as the school open house and more close to real life events such as the environmental project. This project involved my team of three people to visit five secondary schools in Singapore and educate the student population to adopt green habits. Holding assemblies was quite an experience since it gave us the chance to speak in front of crowds as large as that of 800 students and impart environmentally friendly habits to them. This project was an enriching experience since it not only allowed us to practice our public speaking skills but also serve the community in a unique way. In additional to the gavel club, I decided to go for a change from the robotics club and took up other clubs such as the drama club (raffles players), the Indian cultural society and the Raffles Junior College History Society. Being a member of all these groups offered me with opportunities to develop my talent in varied areas. Being a science stream student, I was able to participate in the Indian Cultural Society's fundraising concert in the fashion parade, a member of the crew for the Singapore Youth Festival Drama which won the highest honor, help in the organization of Shell EcoVillage Challenge for secondary school students, judge the fashion parade for the Annual Raffles Mock United Nations and even participate and learn about India as a national better through participation in the Indian bi-cultural programme.
With such abundant opportunities to develop myself in a holistic manner and such consistent exposure to a multifarious population, I feel that I have been endowed with much appreciation rather than tolerance for the diversity of this world. University would be next step of mutual exchange of diversity. A larger school population, a larger campus, a wider choice of courses would only allow me to further encompass new diversities in my persona .Simultaneously I would be able to contribute to Penn by offering my talents, initiatives and spirit of community to the university and further enhancing the diversity of the student population through sharing of experiences and mutual learning. In my short life of 18years, the variety of things I have learnt only triggers me to continue to this exposure to diversity and try my best to realize every opportunity I am presented with.