Broadening Horizons

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. (Max 350 words)

“Marylyn? The trouble-maker?”

Normally, you would not expect these words to be paired with smiles, but there they were, plastered on the faces of my classmates’ parents who loved to tease me. I laughed it off as if the joke meant nothing to me, but inside I was panicking, unsure of what to say or do as they stood there, waiting for my reply. Quiet and shy, I was your typical socially anxious Asian kid who desperately didn’t want to stand out from the predominantly Caucasian crowd, where I was seen as “different”.

Summer of junior year, I decided to reach out of my comfort zone and pursue something drastically different. My mother had only planned for me to keep my grandparents company for three weeks in China, but I wanted to do more. I began to wonder...what if instead of being the anxious student called upon, I was the teacher standing at the front of the classroom, with countless eyes fixated on me? Suddenly excited at this new prospect, I contacted a local school to offer my English-speaking skills as a volunteer teacher.

I labored furiously, creating numerous lesson plans and activities students around my age would enjoy. Finally, the day had come, and I was so nervous I couldn’t keep any food down. What if they don’t like...

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