Khadijah's College Essay
After graduating from high school, Khadijah was admitted to Harvard University. Read one of the inspiring essays that helped her land a college scholarship.
I have not prepared for college or life in the traditional manner. For almost all of my life, I have never had a place to call home. I have questioned why I have to struggle so hard to succeed while others do not have to question whether they will go to college. However, there is one thing I have never questioned: my education. My life and circumstances have given me life skills, that in turn, have helped make me into the driven and passionate student I am today.
I have lived in many types of shelters and motels throughout my life, and as a result, I have learned to be flexible, independent, resourceful, and driven in achieving my goals. Whenever I am hungry, I know where to find food. Whenever I am depressed and stressed, I know exactly where to go to calm down. I tune out the prostitutes who try to sway me towards their way of thinking and ignore the drug addict's plea to try just one drug. I have learned how to tune out the patronizing pimp that snorts, "You ain't college bound. You live in Skid Row!" I have learned not to show fear when I am walking home late at night, and I have learned how to remain alive with almost no money. By moving around and experiencing so much, I have learned to adapt to many different situations, go after and accomplish my goals, and most importantly, thrive.
Interestingly enough, my difficult life encouraged my passion for learning. The refuge I sought when I was at my most depressed was school. School was free, it was amazing, and it stimulated the intellectually curious side of me. I began to love school. However, shelters were temporary, and as a result, the schools I went to were temporary as well. In kindergarten, I did not notice too much. I simply learned my ABCs and found happiness in school. However, by the time I reached elementary school, I figured out that my way of life had messed with the thing I loved the most. I could not let that happen. One moment in third grade defined my path today.
After this moment in third grade, I realized that if I wanted to continue learning, I would have to teach myself, make sure that I did not fall behind, and learn to adapt to the whims of wherever I would live. Therefore, this is what I did and have been doing for all of my life. After this experience, I skipped two more grades and I finally was in the 10th grade, my right grade, when I had another dilemma. I was 35 credits, a whole year behind in high school. I remembered how my mom and I researched food banks by asking other homeless people where to eat. Therefore, I knew that if I wanted to become a smart, successful scholar, I should talk to other smart people. I asked questions and learned that I could catch up credit wise by taking community college courses. When I signed up for my first set of classes, however, I had to move again. Thank goodness, I learned patience a long time ago.
As I fill out my college applications to Harvard, Williams and Amherst, my dream schools, I am thankful for what I have been through. Being homeless has given me the skills I need to succeed on the pathway towards my higher education pursuits and life-long goals. My experiences have made me a dedicated student both inside and outside of the classroom. I do not let anything stop me from achieving my goals. Hearing such negativity where I have lived has enabled me to focus on my goals and remain optimistic, even when faced with grave adversity. Having to depend on myself for food has enabled me to take charge of my education. I have learned to be resourceful and diligent and I am confident in saying that I am a very self-motivated and determined individual that will stop at nothing to receive an education. When I go to college, I know that this acquired knowledge and skills will enable me to succeed in whatever I do.