Describe the world you come from—for example, you family, community, or school—and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

I’m a surfer, which means I spend many hours a week in the vast Pacific Ocean that meets the San Francisco County shoreline. I know my coastline like the back of my hand. I know the texture of the smooth, slimy kelp that flourishes in our frigid ocean, I know the feeling of getting stuck in a rip current at sunset, I know the sound of pebbles rolling with the crash of the waves, and I know the sensations of surfing with only the light of a full moon. But just when I think I know the ocean best, just when I feel like I have mastered the sea, the tides swing and I find myself in a new situation, one I may not be familiar with but one I certainly am excited to take on. I enter the ocean at my own risk because there is a risk; I thrive in an environment that throws me surprises around every wave and challenges my mental and physical condition.

When I enter the water I may be the only surfer out, but I certainly am not alone. Immediately, I start to notice the prospering community of sea life around me, from the small anchovies that flourish in the depths to the playful dolphins that speed through the shallows. But I don’t just observe, I question. I question why dolphins swim together. I wonder why otters rap themselves in kelp. I...

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