'Nurture shapes nature' - Albert Bandura.
Does society determine who we are? Moving to a new country and experiencing such a culture shock made my future seem somewhat bleak, but it wasn't my demise. Simply observing and comparing the practises in Nigeria to the practises in London made me think about several ethical issues with disciplining students and the factors that make students in Nigeria perform to such a high standard in private schools; whether it is genetic components or the nurturing they have received living in that environment? Or perhaps a different debate altogether; the unethical disciplinary methods might lead to final causal determinism. Subsequently I began volunteering at Holy Cross Public Primary school in a village where practises seem to differ even more so; upon speaking with the children I realised that having the privilege to school in London, had clouded my judgement and I was essentially being Eurocentric; who is to say that discipline and teaching methods over in Nigeria are archaic? Whilst in Nigeria, I became more enthusiastic about learning why people behave the way they do, what drives them? From that I developed a particular interest in Social Psychology. As part of my experience in Nigeria, I took part in leadership training at Apapa Sea School Training Camp where essentials such as bathing water had to be earned through commitment and effort in gruelling tasks and then working at a rental company as a secretary gave me several transferable skills such as interpersonal and organisational skills before coming back to the UK.
Travelling to the Netherlands to conduct my own research enabled me to improve my research method skills; I made observations in forests, took samples of various plant life, used statistical tests in analysing my results, and wrote a report which I then presented to my fellow students and teachers which further strengthened my ability to engage an audience. Similarly in my other A levels, I prepare presentations based on research I have conducted outside of college, such as how the English language is used differently by males and females and correlational analysis between self-confidence and income; this has further inspired me to read psychology at university level. The concept of attending university excites me as I am eager to conquer all the challenges that await me both academically and socially and with the experience I have gained, pursue a career in counselling.
Being an active member of the college student council, I am involved in organising social and charity events; we conducted a 'help for Haiti' campaign where we raised more than GBP 100 and collected clothes for donation. Alongside this, as an active member of my church I have been conducting Sunday school for a year together with volunteering at a citizen advice bureau, all these positions demonstrate my ability to handle responsibility, my variety of interests and commitment. My favourite novels belong to the Malorie Blackman Noughts and Crosses trilogy, a trilogy that centres on race and class discrimination; set in an environment similar to that of Martin Luther King's time where racism was at its peak in America. However, in these books roles are reversed and it is the black people oppressing the white people. These remarkable books lead me to draw comparisons to the Zimbardo study; why do people act so atrociously when adapting to the role society has given them? One can not deviate into the mind of an abusive or racist person to deduce the reasoning behind their behaviour, but I intend to continue my investigation into resolving as many enigmas that exist in everyday life all around us with my Psychology/Counselling degree just as the beginning.
As I sit here at my desk, trying to figure out how to write a brilliant essay to be better recognized throughout this application process, I have come to realize that this is what life is about.
We are all given a blank sheet in the beginning. What we choose to put on this blank sheet determines our outcome. The life experiences that have “filled my pages” have shaped me into who I am today. My endurance of difficult times and my willingness to persevere in the face of obstacles makes me unique.
I come from a single parent home. My parents have been divorced since I was two years old. My father stepped in when he had to throughout my childhood, but it was my mother who raised me.
I remember numerous days living in one room, wondering “How long life will be like this?” and “Why does everyone else have a completed family and living in one area?”. All while my mother and I moved to numerous locations in an attempt to survive in the face of divorce.
During this time, I attended an elementary school where I was placed in a special education program. Teachers and rest of the staff told my mother that I had a learning disability and my knowledge capacity was limited. She never believed them. My mother believed that I was capable of doing anything. She never gave up on me. She believed in me.
As soon as I was given an opportunity in the main stream I never looked back. I set out to prove those who doubted me wrong with every chance I was given. And now, I am able to say that I will be a college graduate in six months. It is both a personal triumph as well as for my family.
When I first entered the University setting after community college I had a rough time at first. It was my first time being away from home. Additionally, there were many family issues occurring at the time. As such, my marks did not reflect my full potential. But as my transcript shows, my grades steadily improved every semester and will continue to do so on a graduate level if allowed to continue.
I have a diverse ethnic background. This enables an understanding my part regarding the social issues that are so pertinent today. I am part El Salvadorian and part Irish. The community that I am from on Long Island, New York, was extremely diverse and full of people from different social classes. Having many diverse groups in one community paves the way for discrimination, which I unfortunately experienced in my childhood. However, because of my background, I have a much needed perspective. I have a deep understanding of discrimination as well as an interest in learning more about racism and how it has developed. I am hoping to work with families of different ethnic backgrounds because I feel my past experiences and my college education have helped me to understand the challenges that minorities face, and a great understanding of how a culture affects a way of life along with family values.
I am also extremely family oriented. I utilized these skills during the difficult times of my own childhood when they were desperately needed. Divorce is a family issue. I want to extend help to families in similar situations.
I believe I am right for the Counseling/Psychology field. I believe that my life experiences have given me the compassion needed. I am passionate to help people. I know I can make a difference if given the chance.
Syracuse University is clearly the place to start. The “Family and Marriage Therapy Program” at Syracuse University will help me to pursue my dream. I know this is a great institution full of great faculty that will provide me the tools I need to pursue such a career. As this Marriage Family and Marriage Therapy Program” is recognized as a culturally sensitive therapy, there is a great connection between what is offered and what I would like to accomplish with my education and career. My overall goal is to pursue a PhD after completing the Master Program. I hope to one day open my own Psychology practice.
I know if given the chance I can achieve much and help many.
All I need is for someone to believe. I won't let you down.