LOVE

“A picture is worth a thousand words” as the adage goes. (You’re limited to the space provided, however.) Attach a photograph that represents something important to you, and explain its significance.

The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship was the most eye-opening experience of my life. In the five weeks I was at Governor’s School I learned more about the world than I could ever learn in a high school classroom. With over five hundred applicants, the forty selected from Pennsylvania were a mix of musicians, athletes, artists, and bookworms. There were also ten international students. Living for five weeks with such a diverse group of people allowed me to see not only the differences between the United States and the world, but also the differences within Pennsylvania.This photograph was taken at the LOVE sculpture at Lehigh University, where I spent thirty-five days learning with and growing to love the other forty-nine students. From the left, the people are Kevin, Ilana, me, Jay, and Olaf. This photograph happened spontaneously. Ilana and I saw the sculpture and wanted to take a picture of it. Kevin, Jay, and Olaf walked by and decided to jump in.Kevin is from a rural and relatively poor part of western Pennsylvania. There are no nearby malls and only a total of 1,000 high school students in the entire county. He pulled up the census data on his county and compared it to my own. His county’s median income was one third of the median income of my county. His mother is a teacher, the highest paid profession. I had expected other countries to be different, but I was not prepared for the incredibly different lifestyles in my own state, just a couple of hours’ drive away.Ilana’s Jewish heritage plays a big part in her life. She is the most orthodox Jew I have ever met. At meals she would bring her own kosher meat, which she kept stocked in her mini-fridge. On Saturdays, she would not write or turn on any lights. Ilana’s religion dominated many aspects of her life, which was a stark contrast to my atheist upbringing. I learned more about religion by living across the hallway from her than I would have anywhere else.Jay would wake up early and run five miles every morning, before I was even awake. He was a devoted athlete – a runner, swimmer, and baseball player. At nights he would practice yoga, and he soon became our yoga instructor. It became a ritual that every night, weather permitting, at 6:30 there would be yoga in the quad. Jay started out looking for inner peace through yoga and ended up finding it with forty-nine others. Not an athlete myself, Jay showed me that exercise was not the formidable task I perceived it to be.Olaf came to us from East Germany. He tried to teach me some German phrases, but I could never get the accent quite right. He also always carried around an English/German dictionary. Whenever we said a word he could not understand, he would pull out the dictionary and look it up. I admire his dedication to learning the English language. I have been taking Spanish in school for over five years and am still not able to completely understand the Spanish Channel on TV. He is fluent in English, more fluent than I will ever be in Spanish.I was voted ‘Most Energetic’ in the Governor’s School yearbook. Everything is exciting for me; I never want to miss out on a single moment. For the Talent Show, I put together Cathy’s Musical Extravaganza, a dramatic (musical) retelling of the clash between the Titanic and the “lethal iceberg.” Enlisting the creative abilities of over twenty classmates, I put together a crew of musicians, actors, and dancers. In just three days I produced (and performed in) a skit complete with a paper Titanic and a human iceberg. After expressing some anxiety about performing in front of everybody, my friend told me, “You’re always happy and comfortable, just like a freshly changed baby.” My friend’s words of wisdom provided a metaphor I will enjoy the rest of my life, and my Musical Extravaganza was a hit, with many calls for an encore.The fifty Gov Schoolers, as we called ourselves, were all friends. There were no cliques among us, no shunning of classmates, no looking down on others. I have never been in an environment with as much closeness and kinship as Governor’s School, and I hope this will continue as I begin my college life; I imagine Stanford will have even more friends and life changing experiences. At the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship there was no enmity or personal grudges, only LOVE.

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