The Climb

Rutgers University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment? Consider variables such as your talents, travels, leadership activities, volunteer services, and cultural experiences. Only personal essays submitted via our website will be considered.


People’s cultures are like fingerprints--no two are ever the same. Although I was born in the United States, I can truly say that I have grown up with two different cultures. My family originates from Egypt, and I am the first generation to be born here. Although this used to be something that I was ashamed of, in high school I finally began to embrace my Egyptian and Coptic Orthodox background. To begin with, I am a fluent speaker of the Arabic language. I grew up learning Arabic first, and English was left to be taught at school. Arabic speakers make up about .25% of the United States population and even fewer are Coptic Orthodox Christian, a religion that traces back to the year 42 AD. Coptic Orthodox Christians make up less than 1% of the United States’ populous and about 10% of Egypt’s.

Being a minority in this country has exposed me to many experiences that others have missed out on. First off, I play an active role in my church, St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Holmdel, New Jersey. The majority of my life has been cemented there and I am a committed parishioner, attending liturgy every Sunday. I have also fostered a passion for alhan, commonly known as the Coptic hymns, and this has motivated me to learn the ancient...

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