President's Scholar Several of My Childhood Friends Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

President's Scholar

Several of my childhood friends succumbed to the temptations of gang life, as we grew up in a low-income, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Hawaiian Gardens, California. I've witnessed many people my age and younger act out of desperation and hopelessness and a false sense of self-esteem. Once, I spoke to one of my closest childhood friends about his spending inordinate amounts of time with some known gang members. Confronting him made him noticeably uncomfortable. "Leave me alone," he said. "Maybe if you just got to know them better..." The lure of that life was sometimes hard to resist, as it served as a major social and political outlet for many people my age in the neighborhood. I struggled often with designing my own life path amid the hardships I witnessed around me.

Luckily, my parents were good role models. Both teachers, they taught me the value of a higher education and continually encouraged me to capitalize on my academic strengths. Without unduly pressuring me, my parents urged me to devote time to my studies and while I often felt they were being overprotective, I now see that they offered me love and support on a scale that many of my other friends did not enjoy. I owe much of my scholastic success to my parents' emotional support and the example they set for me through their own lives.

Unlike many of my peers, I have had the opportunity to backpack through Europe with my father and my brother. Traveling has afforded me innumerable opportunities to meet people from diverse backgrounds, many of whom spoke different languages. One of the biggest challenges while traveling is to overcome cultural and language barriers, and my experience in Europe was as valuable if not more so than my formal education. Moreover, I have had the opportunity to take advantage of the incredible natural surroundings here in the United States and have hiked several local mountains, including Mount Whitney. Hiking and being in nature are other informal yet extremely…

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