Diversity to me

A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

In a classroom occupied by thirty students, I am the only one of African descent. In a locker room of varsity basketball athletes, I am the only one under six feet tall, and during a first priority assembly hosted by a peer, I am the only one of Catholic faith. Events such as the ones just shared are not rare to me and have occurred routinely throughout my life. These reoccurring experiences, that once gave me a feeling of insecurity and self-doubt, are now doing the opposite. Because I have come to embrace my differences and varying background, I am able to embody who I am as well who I have the potential to become. Throughout many instances in my life, I have been faced with the question of “who am I?” For some, the answer to this question might be very simple and easy to come by; but for others, like me, this question is quite difficult. Unlike most of my classmates, I was born in a different country, Cameroon, Africa, along with my four siblings. This is a major part of who I am because even though I only lived in Cameroon for the first six years of my life, most of the customs and culture that my parents have instilled in me stem from our African roots. Simultaneously, I am also largely impacted by American culture, as that is what I have been exposed to since age 6. Having blended the two very different cultures together, I am not able to fully conform to either cultural identity, but instead find myself somewhere in between. What I once viewed as a hindrance, I now embrace as a gift I can share with others. Having spent most of my life in an area where social variance is not common, I am not able to place myself into a generic identity such as nerd, jock, black, or simply Christian. Instead, I realize that I am a combination of an assortment of identities. I share a mutual love for academia, athletics, faith, culture, and community involvement. By keeping a diverse outlook on all aspects of life, I allow myself to become exposed to an array of many different people and opportunities, which collectively have and will continue to help me grow into the successful person I strive to become. By being able to accept my own individual diversity, it has led me to accept all walks of life. Ultimately, by interacting with others of diverse backgrounds and varying outlooks of life, one is able to become more open minded, and closer to the realization that even though we are all distinctive individuals, it is astonishing how we are interconnected through our interests, ancestry, and culture.

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