여름방학이 조만간 시작하게 된다. Senior가 되는 학생들은 알찬 방학과 더불어 대학 입학 에세이를 모두 완성해야 할것이다. 다음 두 에세이는 아이비리그 대학에서 입학 허가를 받은 학생들 에세이이기 때문에 절대로 인용하거나 도용하면 안된다. 단지 참고 자료로서 활용하길 바란다.
The person who had the most significant influence on me was an unemployed alcoholic living on social welfare. Yet, until two years ago, I would never have imagined that the individual who impacted my life the most would be someone so poor that he could not even afford a house. At that time, I reluctantly volunteered for the Habitat for Humanity Program in Korea because most of my peers planned to spend the majority of their vacation aiding their communities in some extraordinary fashion. I arrived at the barren construction site ablaze with heat and populated with the skeletal frames of prospective houses. I hesitantly grabbed a hammer and nails, and began hammering wooden pieces together to make a frame. Because I had never used a hammer before, however, my carpentry skills were despicable, and my thumbs soon turned purple, while bent nails surrounded me.
A man in his late-forties noticed my pathetic attempts and offered his help. He laughed at me, saying, "How could you call yourself a young student if you can't even handle a hammer?" Then, we made a pact; he would nail things together while I cut the wood into pieces for him. After a period of silence, I could not fight back my curiosity and finally asked him where he was from. He replied, "Ha, I am not one of you students working for community service hours, I am building my own house right now." Baffled, I asked where he lived currently, and he replied that his family stayed in a small rented apartment. Smiling, he added, "It always makes me proud that Korea has young students who help people like me."
Upon hearing this, I felt a surge of guilt and realized that I had been selfishly helping myself in trying to strengthen my college application. He told me that once he received the news that he would receive a house, his life completely changed. He quit drinking and started working again to support his family. According to him, the most important thing a man could ever have is a family, but he had made the terrible mistake of forgetting that. The house that we were building reunited his family and gave him new hope.
I have taken so many things for granted in the past when, in fact, the house I lived in, the food I ate daily, and most importantly, the family I had could all disappear one day. This inspiring man therefore taught me that money is not the key to happiness. I also learned the true meaning of community service as a vehicle to
truly enhance my life, not my college application.
An event that changed the way I look at the world was a sprained ankle I recently had, which required that I use crutches. As a result of losing my mobility and independence, I suddenly saw my surroundings in a different way.
I found that I needed help from others, and this was a difficult change for me. I had always resented being dependent on others, and prided myself in being able to handle things on my own. But suddenly I could not even carry my belongings, since I had crutches in both hands. I hated the dependency that I was thrown into. For the first week after my injury, I stubbornly held on to my independent self-image by refusing most of the help that was offered.
But I soon learned the simple truth that difficult situations are often much more manageable with the help of others. Being on crutches also helped me to see my surroundings in an entirely different light. I had never realized before how cruel my environment could be. The streets were full of bumps and ditches that I had never noticed, and the way to the supermarket was so steep and winding that I realized for the first time just what a dangerous journey it was. I also noticed that people were quick to become impatient when I was boarding the bus slowly. I noticed for the first time those places where there is no elevator.
I realized in this situation, for the first time in my life, how difficult it must be for handicapped people who face these challenges every day. What had become a minor, temporary annoyance for me would be a lifelong struggle for them. I did sympathize with the handicapped before my accident, but now I empathized with them, and could see my surroundings somewhat more from their perspective.
After my injury healed, I started volunteering and getting involved in community service such as World vision, Local Hospital, and Senior house, utilizing what I had learned from my injury. I offered help to those who needed help, and tried not to act haughty about it, knowing how much I hated it when I was in the other position. I also assured those that I helped that I was happy to help them, since I had always had lingering doubts when I needed the help myself. Although I had been involved in social services prior to my injury, the injury helped me to help the handicapped, because I am now better able to see things through their eyes. The accident itself was a very unpleasant experience, but the lessons I have learned from it influenced me in ways that I will not soon forget.