Application to Columbia GS

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The light of the typical Ivy League student may not need to sparkle from within because the outside light is radiant; gifted from birth and straight A’s in advanced Shakespeare classes litter the scores of acceptance essays. The light of the atypical Ivy League student, conversely, needs to sparkle from within because of the adversity he may have faced. In order for him to transcend intellectually, he has to find that indomitable spirit. He needs to forge ahead against uncertainty because nothing was paved for him. Consequently, the light shines brighter because he has already fought the darkness from within, creating a stronger individual. This metaphor of darkness and light was taken straight out of the pages of my story. My childhood was not filled with advanced Shakespeare classes or any other typical Ivy League scripts, but it is not despite the adversity I faced but precisely because of what I faced do I feel Columbia GS would add a great chapter in the story of my life.
My story began on a cool summer’s night twenty short years ago. From my earliest memory, I recall my father’s disdain for pursuing education. “Quit school and get a job” was his motto. My mother, in contrast, valued education, but she would never put pressure on anyone: a sixty-five was passing, and there was no motivation to do better. As a child, my uncle was my major role-model. He was a living example of how one could strive for greatness with a proper education and hard work. At this tender age of seven, I knew little about how I would achieve my goals, but I knew that education and hard work were going to be valuable. However, all of my youthful fantasies for broader horizons vanished like smoke when school began.
When I started school, ...

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...lings that overcame me: it was the first time I felt as though I was important, the first time I felt as though I was a scholar, and most importantly, the first time I felt as though I belonged. I want to be an active voice on campus and in the classrooms; I want to be a role model to the diverse student body; I want to branch out with the opportunity given by GS; and most of all, I want to grow into the leader I dream to become.
Here lies my story in all its roughness and imperfection, and yet, it is not rough or imperfect at all; it is precisely because of roughness and imperfection that I feel I am the quintessential GS student. Ironically, I believe my struggles are the most valuable part of my story, not the success. It is my hope that you have seen through the stained glass window and through my darkness and glimpsed the radiant light that sparkles within.

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