Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
A Transformative Experience
Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
As the sunlight began to dim, my panic rose. The street signs were incomprehensible, and any request for assistance only resulted in a barrage of unfamiliar German. I found myself hoping for a rapid rescue, yet I knew that I needed to find my own way out of the urban confusion of downtown Stuttgart. I was terrified. I found myself racing around a train station, frantically asking all the cab drivers in broken German if they knew where my temporary residence was; finally, I was directed to a bus stop. Unfortunately, I would have to wait quite some time before the next bus arrived. As I sat on the cold stone bench, dejected, I began to notice what was around me. The city was filled with images that were so incongruous with the strict mold of my past experiences that I was stunned.
Born in India and raised in the most traditional manner possible, I had lived a very sheltered life. It was drilled into me that "your success depends on your dedication to your grades," which left little time for "superfluous" activities. I became a diligent worker, yet I lacked the conviction to pursue more than just my education. The structure of my life led me to believe in the universality of my work-driven code, yet this belief was now being...
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