University of California - Santa Cruz
Describe the world you come from -- for example, your family, community, or school -- and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
The stage trembled under the rhythmic tapping of wood on wood as glossy ringlets bounced in the summer sun. After an energetic jig, a dozen grinning and giggling girls filed past me in their sparkling dresses. Meanwhile, I anxiously adjusted the straps on my black leather shoes and prepared to take the stage. After nearly a year of weekly Irish dance lessons, in just a few moments, I would be competing in my first Fèis -- a traditional Gaelic cultural festival -- at the tender age of seven. I was about to embark upon a path that would spark my interest in performing, inspire me to dedicate myself to my passions, and connect me to my Irish heritage.
Since that first Fèis, I have danced in over twenty competitions, and my initial nervousness has long since faded away, replaced by a self-assurance that I carry with me in everything I do. Years of practice to reach the third of four levels in each of my dances have shown me the rewards of perseverance. The pride that my family felt for me and that I felt for myself after winning each of my 85 trophies and medals only encouraged my competitive spirit. Along the way I also met many girls who shared the same drive and forged several close and long-lasting friendships.
The joy I took...
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