Growing Up

Presidential Scholarship Personal Essay – (750 to 1000 words): Write about an experience that made you realize you were growing up.

High school is a time of confusion for almost everyone. At times it seems that nothing is clear or simple. There is confusion about who you are, what your personal moral code should be, why life can sometimes be so hard, and what your future could hold. While I have struggled with these questions at different points of my life, what has been most perplexing to me has not been about me. Most of my questions have instead been about understanding others.Throughout life everyone works with, talks with, argues with, befriends, and makes enemies with other people. High school is the first time when these relationships and patterns start to register with us as we mature into adults. It is a time when we learn how relationships and interactions with other people can either work well or break down. As we meet and observe others in high school, we start to notice the diversity in other people, the differences in their opinions and beliefs, and the varied ways in which they choose to approach life’s challenges.The biggest question I grapple with is why people do the things they do. Through both positive and negative experiences in relationships, I often wonder what has prompted their actions and how they came to be the way they are. People can be cruel, and they can also be incredibly gracious. No two people are the same, and no one person thinks, acts, or holds views in exactly the same way as another. For example, I have always wondered why someone would knowingly harm an innocent person or feel that they are better than everyone else, or what causes someone to have opinions that are beyond my understanding. In the broader context of the world we live in, I struggle with understanding extremists and the actions they take. I respect and honor the rights we have to be different and hold varied perspectives and beliefs on life, but I have always wondered about the reasons behind these differences.The process of learning and growing through my own difficulties and talking with my friends about theirs has shone a light for me on how we are shaped by our life experiences into the people we become. I have begun to understand that there is a long path full of twists and turns for each person that leads to their every thought, viewpoint, and decision. People interact with the world around them in the context of their personal history, and if I have not shared the same experiences, it is more difficult for me to understand the “why?” Therefore, I have learned that to understand others, I have to try to see it from their perspective, history, and life experience. In the future, I believe that approach will help me to enjoy the wonderful complexity and diversity that makes life interesting, and which will make my college experience, relationships, and life all the more enriching.

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