Rising Above

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


As the applause faded to a hum, my whole body began to tremble. My throat seized up and tiny bumps arose across my arms. Just as my legs felt ready to give out underneath me, the conductor raised her hands. In one swift movement, a wave of relief washed over me as I raised my voice loudly.

“Still I rise!” I sang, lifting my voice with the others. The harmonious sound that filled the auditorium resonated deep within me. At this moment, I found my strength. I was no longer an individual, struggling alone. Rather, I was a part of a family, a group of people performing what they love. On the choir stage, I had found my home. However, it took years of overcoming obstacles to attain this sense of belonging.

Raised in the U.S. by Mexican parents, I discovered that my lifestyle was different from the lives of my peers. I was taught early on that my priorities should be work, family, and religion. Dishes had to be washed, clothes folded, beds made, and bathrooms cleaned before I was allowed free time. When relatives visited I had to entertain them, no matter the duration of their stay. Once I became involved in church, school was a lesser priority. I was responsible for attending all practices. Education would come later.

As I grew...

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