Please describe the environment in which you were raised.
I have grown up in a household with parents who come from very different backgrounds. My father’s grandparents were first generation German immigrants, and holidays and family gatherings were of the utmost importance when my Dad was growing up. This tradition remains intact; Christmas and other family holidays are big, loud gatherings: with seven cousins, four sets of aunts and uncles, my grandmother, and great aunt and great uncle. In Philadelphia, my grandmother’s kitchen table rivals Main Street for its business. Surrounded by friends and family, she spoils my brother and me with cookies and Cocoa Puffs (contraband at home) when we visit on weekends. I have learned, from my grandmother, to appreciate the strong community of family where there is always someone around to keep you company.Though my mother’s side of the family is a bit more reserved, and smaller in number, it is equally warm. Thanksgivings and New Years include cozy fires and good food. We are an idiosyncratic bunch. My uncles own a restaurant, and my other family works in business. My step-grandfather loves to tell complicated stories with lots of characters and complicated moral lessons. Each of us has oddities; while we often roll our eyes at each other during these recitations, we are a tight-knit and devoted family. My own, four-member family unit has a combination of all of these traits, and through it I have come to appreciate hard work, strong values, and all types of accomplishment. My Dad is a prosecutor, so I learned early to be my own best advocate. And my Mom is Head of Professional Development and Diversity at her law firm. She has taught me how to be sensitive towards the differences that might divide us. Though my parents provide me with everything I need, they have always expected me to participate in our family life, and make my own contribution to maintaining family solidarity. From my family I feel that I’ve learned what I need to continue my education. And ultimately, this will help me discover what I can substantively contribute to the community of my college, and eventually to a profession.