Exploring New Territory

“Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?”

I am an explorer. At 10 months old, my travels began with my family’s first move. Over the years, we have been relocated because of my father’s company, gradually bringing a family of five from East to West. Five states, five homes, and five experiences: I am from where I have been.

Wandering is said to be aimless and with no purpose, and each moment my father sat my siblings and me down, I would have agreed with this seemingly appropriate definition to describe moving. There was no reason for me to start all over again as the alien outsider in a new school each time; my dad did not need to accept another new job opportunity. As I wandered however, I learned, I adapted, and I became somebody who thrived in new environments, taking in new cultures and ideas along the way. There was a purpose, and in it I grew from a wanderer into something else, an explorer.

I have had the privilege to not only discover diversity but to distinguish and develop myself in each and every state: New York, Virginia, Minnesota, Arizona, and California. From shoveling snow in Minnesota to hiking through cacti in Arizona, the transitions were both intimidating and exciting. At a young age I learned to adjust to new people and places. Not wanting to be stuck as a stranger to my new classmates, I took the initiative in getting to know them. I met new personalities and tried to grasp new ways of thinking, many times questioning my own previously-held worldviews. New ideas and perspectives clouded my perspective, but as I grew, I explored more, and the fog cleared to reveal the significance of diversity. With every move, every accent, and every new friend, I increasingly appreciated living in a nation that stems from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and religions, all contributing to the vitality and richness of its people. With these experiences, I developed my own character, with my own background and heritage, open-minded and ready to embrace the world rich in different ethnicities, personalities, and political perspectives.

Today, as a leader of the student inclusion committee of student government in my current school, I am able to take my experiences and apply them in assisting students to become involved and united. Whether they are new students or those just trying to find a place in the crowd, I have had the opportunity to help them adapt and take in everything that the school and other students have to offer. From different backgrounds and with different stories, each student has a contribution to make. From planning new-student lunch-ins to organizing an anti-bullying week, I have had the privilege of opening the door to students and illustrating the beauty that their individuality contributes to a student body.

While I traveled, I also started to develop my educational interests. New soccer teams meant witnessing new injuries. New towns meant observing and interacting with different doctors. I heard of and saw unique health issues and became intrigued with the human body. As my compassion, curiosity, and creativity started to develop, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and help the human race thrive. I thank my experiences for giving me the capabilities to follow my dreams and aspirations by setting the foundation from which the rest of my character has been shaped. The initial transitions were tough, but I value the friendships I have made across the country and the lessons I have learned. Now I look forward to another exploration filled with new people and concepts. I am an explorer and I am ready to take on and discover my new destination.

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