People face numerous obstacles throughout their lives. Their success and happiness largely depend upon whether they try to overcome them or just give up. My life has been and still continues to be a course of obstacles. (you must add a sentence here that states specifically what your hardships were - physical, socio-economic situation in the Philippines, instability of home life as a Filipino immigrant in the United States - be more specific) I have not only overcome them, but have learned priceless lessons that have made up the foundation of my life now and the future.
(Needs topic sentence that discusses physical hardships and what they have taught you) Ever since birth, I have been unable to hear anything with my right ear. It is abnormally smaller than the one on my left side. My father panicked upon hearing the doctor's reports of his newborn son's condition. He moved my family from a province in the Philippines to the city of Manila where he quickly made arrangements to fix my deformed ear.
Despite his attempts to make arrangements, the surgery never took place for he couldn't afford it. My father's worries grew as I grew. His worries also changed. Not only was he concerned about my inability to hear with my right ear, he was afraid of what other people might think, say or do because of it. Fearing that the children in my school would make fun of my defect, he hid my ear by letting my hair grow long. Ironically, my hair attracted even more unwanted attention from my peers. The other children chastised me for having long hair, and later, my ear. (Gershon - didn't you say your teacher also made fun of your hair or your ear? Include a sentence about this. Also talked about how you felt.) In addition to my difficulty in hearing, another physical challenge came up when I was nine years old. I was struck with a deadly condition known as Henock Shonlein's Purpura, which causes arthritis and hemorrage in the legs. The early signs of the condition were left unattended by my parents in the hope that they would eventually go away. The condition worsened after one month and I was hospitalized. After nearly two months of being bed-ridden, I needed to re-learn how to walk. Once in school, the students pushed me around because of my irregular walking. My mother prohibited me from joining any physical activities for she was afraid that the condition would come back. I fell behind in class. But regardless of all the work that I missed and all the rude comments that the students made, I would not allow my classmates' insensitivity triumph over me, as I had not let my physical shortcomings win. While these obstacles were not easy to overcome, I was determined not to give up. Not only was I able to catch up with my studies, but I also was able to rise up among my classmates to became one of the top ten students in our class for three years. I finally gained the respect of my teachers and fellow students. (what did you learn about yourself through these experiences? What do you think you've developed because of the physical hardships?) (write a topic sentence for the socio-economic hardships in the Philippines and what you learned from them) My parents, like multitudes of others in the Philippines' poor economy, struggled to earn an income that would provide a decent standard of living for my family. It was, and still is, very difficult to be rewarded financially for hard work. As a result, it is common for one or both Filipino parents to leave their families to work in another country so they can send money back home. The jobs they obtain in the foreign countries vary. Many people just work as housemaids. Although these jobs may be considered as low class, the wages they receive are better than the wages they would receive if they worked in the Philippines. Both of my parents left for another country to provide a better future for me and my brother. My father left for Saudi Arabia when I was three years old. He came back and my mom left for the United States seven years later. They wanted to change many things about our lives. One of their main goals was to raise enough money for my ear surgery. Another goal was to move out of our neighborhood, where a black polluted river would occasionally fill up and flood our whole house. As a result of my parents' absence, my aunts became my parental figures. I spent time with my aunts so much that I did not believe my grandmother when she told me who my real mother was. I believed that my aunt was my mother. (what have you learned about the socio-economic situation in the Philippines? Talk about how you weren't quite aware of what was going on about the Philippine's bad economy, but you were affected by it by your parents having to leave) After months of planning we were able to move to the US and reunite with our mother. Our family reunion did not last very long and we were once again separated. Due to the debt my parents had accumulated in order to bring us to the US, my parents had to leave me and my older brother with aunts and uncles in Las Vegas and go to California with my younger brother to find a job to pay-off their debts.
My older brother stayed with my aunt to finish sixth grade and I stayed with my uncle to finish my last four months of fifth grade. This was the start of the series of moving to different places and transferring to different schools. Just as I was getting used to living with my uncle and being in fifth grade, I had to move for the second time to live with my aunt. During sixth grade, I was shuttled back-and-forth between the two households of my uncle and aunt. I could never get used to either household because both my aunt and uncle moved twice themselves in the same year. Each time they moved, I was dragged along with them. (talk about how you felt? Don't just describe what happened, focus on your emotions. What did you think about your situation?) At the end of sixth grade, my brother and I were finally able to live with our parents in Reseda, California. We transferred to a school in Northridge and finished middle school. It took a while for my parents to pay off their debts and for the whole family to get accustomed to living in a one-bedroom apartment. But because of the sacrifice my parents did and the effort that my brothers and I made built a strong foundation for our family. (add a few sentences on the foundation of your family - what did you learn from the sacrifice? how did you learn to get through all of this?) Upon finishing eight grade, I graduated as a saluditorian. (how were you able to do this? How do you think you accomplished this even though you have been through all of what you have been through?) Even today, hardships come knocking at my door. But because of my experience as a child, I am able to cope with my problems, if not seek appropriate help. (Add one paragraph on the situation of your life now. How after some stability through high school, your family is all separated again. But, talk about how you have learned from earlier experiences and are able to get through them this time. Talk about how you are very involved in different activities - list and describe all the sports, clubs and activities you have participated in. Emphasize that even though you have gone through so much, you have learned to develop yourself so that you can actually be a positive contributing member in your community.) I am now a chat-room counselor in a program called Love's Child for teen who experience domestic violence. (write one whole paragraph about Love's Child. What is the organization all about? What is it's mission? When did you start participating in this organization? What activities did you do for one year? What do you do now? Why do you do what you do now? Talk about how the people who you will help are disadvantaged and oppressed and that you identify with them because you have been at one time disadvantaged and oppressed. Disadvantaged through physical hardships and oppressed because of the socio-economic hardships in the Philippines) By using the knowledge I had obtained during the years, I am able to help others the way others had helped me.
Gershon - The sentence above is very very general. What knowledge? How do you help? Who are the "others" who receive your help? Directions for the conclusion-summary of everything you said. What you have learned.
DO NOT be general. How everything you've learned has prepared you for the future.