2011 Personal Statements – I Will Be the Change I Want to SeeFebruary 14, 2011
I Will Be the Change I Want to See
At the age of four it seemed like I was destined to lead the same despondent life of both my parents. I had always wanted to make things good for my family, but that didn’t seem possible. In spite of my determination to bring about change, I was constrained by poverty and artificial societal norms. In the history of my family, dreams remained dreams, while I clung on to the last rays of optimism.
Every day was a battle. From the time I was two, I learned to survive the hard way. My mother and father worked in a quarry earning small wages to keep themselves, my two sisters, brother and myself alive. My family thought that the more hands that worked, the more income that would come, and waited for me to grow up. The money earned was just barely enough to sustain us.
One day, a perfect opportunity fell on my lap with which I could fulfill my pledge of helping my family. Some strange people came to my village; they didn’t look like any one of us and I was slightly intimidated by their looks, style and sophistication. They asked me strange questions. At that moment, I had no idea that how I answered those questions was going to decide my family’s future.
My mom woke me up early one day soon, and took extra care to dress me. A jeep came and parked in front of my house. As my mother and I got into it, I felt very important. I thought I was a big hero, so I put my hands into my pockets and pretended to be one. After a long drive, we reached an unknown place, which is when I started to get a little scared.
As my mother went away, I struggled and kicked the lady who was holding my hands. Little did I know that these same hands – and many others – were going to help me make a new and better life. When I came to Shanti Bhavan, I was reluctant to leave what I knew as “home” and stay at a place unknown. I thought that the people who were leading me to my dorm, my soon to be the new home, were trying to rob me of my family. But after 14 years of living and studying at Shanti Bhavan, I have gained a big, loving family and a circle of friends who I can depend upon, always. I have learned to live and to work hard, and to always try to succeed.
My inspiration in life is the founder of our school, Dr. George. He is a businessman turned philanthropist. I admire him greatly. I want to be like him – first I want to become a successful businessman and then I want to give back to society. I want to make a difference in the world.
I have taken up business studies. I have very strong interpersonal skills. My classmates say that I can turn anyone around to my point of view, as well as to bring out the best in them. I have learned that these skills are really important in the field I am looking to pursue.
When someone looks at me, they see a young person speaking fluent English. What they don’t see is the boy I used to be – ragged and dirty, uneducated, running around barefoot and living in a hut. Because of the contrasts in my life at home and life at school, my world is a mixture of both. For this reason, I can fit in anywhere. I speak English well, as well as Tamil, my mother tongue. I love to eat pasta as much as I enjoy ragi – a poor man’s diet. I know how to communicate to my village members with the same ease in which I can present a good business plan to anyone. I love playing soccer, and am also a valuable cricket player. And I know how to play the guitar.
I have come a long way from a poor, nameless street boy to a man who has dreams and will do what is required to achieve them. I will elevate my family from their poor status and make them happy. I want to work toward making a difference in the world; I want the world to be a better place. I will help other children like me who are ridiculed and oppressed by their socioeconomic status.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you would like to see,” I see myself as an agent for the change to improve other’s lives. With the opportunity that I have received at Shanti Bhavan, I know that I will succeed.
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Meet the rest of the Shanti Bhavan Class of 2011.