|By Crazee8 (Crazee8) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit|
The essay is in response to the question, "If you are not currently enrolled in school now, what have you been doing?" I would greatly appreciate the help, and its really urgent as I plan to send it out later tonight!
Here it is:
Having graduated high school at the age of sixteen, I decided to take a gap year before college. In July, I went to a small village in India and taught English at a local rural elementary school. Although it was run by the government and had few facilities and a scarcity of teachers; what it lacked in structure it made up for in spirit. The teachers and students were incredibly enthusiastic and were thrilled to be a part of the school community. We would go over Basic English phrases and play word games with the children in the evening. It was very challenging as it was not easy to communicate to rural Indian children in English. Yet, very little could subdue the amazing enthusiasm in the classroom; not the broken chairs, nor my poor Hindi translation. It was very difficult to not allow this enthusiasm to become infectious.
When I wasn’t teaching elementary school students, I devoted my time to working in a village where most of the Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables,” live. I heard of stories of Dalits being relegated to the lowest jobs, living in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense. Therefore, I worked with the Adivasi activist group and wrote articles to local newspapers about the injustice Dalits face in Indian society and wrote letters to representatives about stricter legislatures to protect Dalits and promote greater rights and privileges for Dalits. During my stay, I met many passionate and vocal activists that have devoted their lives to the cause of the Dalits. I hope too, to some day return again to India and devote my time to freeing India of caste consciousness.
In September, I returned back to the United States in September and have been taking a few college courses (Calculus I, General Biology and General Physics) at a local university. In addition, last week, I started as intern at the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines. It's a national campaign, affiliated with grassroots state campaigns and the international campaign to ban the use of indiscriminate landmines and provide victim support. The main goal of the campaign is to get the United States to sign the Landmine Ban Treaty. I spend most of my time writing letters to Senators and other representatives to inform them about the hazards of landmines and to promote The Landmine Ban Treaty to be passed. Additionally, I will soon be starting a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Course at SOLO in New Hampshire.
In all, my year off doing volunteer service in India was a life changing experience. I discovered so much about myself and the world around me and the times of struggle and success, frustration and pure joy while living with the Indian villages has taught me the true knowledge that only comes from firsthand experience. I learned about passion, about the need to meet each and every challenge with a zeal for the simple joy of doing it. There was a fire in the eyes of the Indian villagers and a love for life that pervaded the village. This adoration for daily challenges taught me to face the day with a vibrant energy. I was guided to take advantage of the life I was living, to be excited about the simple tasks in life. I learned that true happiness comes from a pure passion for what you have and what you have to do.
Before I left, a family friend had given me a Kaleidoscope as a birthday present. She had told me to use it as a tool to help me see the world through new eyes during my year off. Little did I realize how much an impact the interim year, would have on influencing my world views, and instilling in me a stronger sense of self and greater maturity. My interim year has been phenomenal; as it has been instrumental in enabling me to pursue various interests that I care deeply about and has provided me the opportunity to explore my many interests outside the world of academia. In all, it has been a revitalizing and refreshing year and I am now more eager and enthusiastic than ever to enter college next year as a more worldly and wise eighteen year old.
|By Crazee8 (Crazee8) on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 03:07 pm: Edit|
Will at someone please critique my supplementary essay? I need to submit it soon!
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