Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Lily Tomlin once said, "I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework." The experience I’m about to account is not something that just developed me intellectually but something that changed me for life. In fact, I don’t think intellectuality would have come my way if it wasn’t for it.
In school, my approach towards English classes was careless. I suppose it had something to do with the fact that they were taught on a second language base and I could ace them in my sleep. Teachers never noticed or cared about the fact that I was too advanced for the courses provided. Consequently, overconfidence took over, gradually, until Ms. Diana Tewari, the new English teacher, came along. On our first day of sophomore year, Ms. Tewari asked us to write down on a piece of paper what we would do if we knew we weren’t going to fail. I wrote down, “Get a degree in English and become a novelist”. She walked around and peeked at our dreams without showing any sign of surprise.
“You call that writing? I’d be surprised if you got more than a C grade on your IGs in June”, the statement she gave me after submitting my first essay the next day, the statement that haunted me for the rest of the academic year. A week later, after a couple of more C’s, she told me that she is volunteering to give me extra classes every day after school to ensure that I am ready for the exam by June. My desperation for a good grade made me to agree to the offer. I was intrigued by the woman before me, one day giving me snide comments and the next volunteering to help me improve, year-long.
On our first day after school, she gave me a passage to read which seemed much more advanced than the text that the examination board used. Day after day, Ms. Tewari exposed me to texts, poems and prose that were much more demanding than the plain ones in class. After some analytical reflection over the situation, I realized that I had the choice to tell her that I no longer wanted to do the extra classes. A revelation that I realized though is that I did want to. My thirst for the Shakespearean poems and Chaucer prose was unquenchable. After the extra classes, I would spend hours at home surfing the net for more, not just literary information, but all kinds of arts. For the first time in my life, I realized I was enjoying what I was studying in school.
My blissful period ended when Ms. Tewari announced to the class, following the Christmas break, that due to family issues, she will be leaving and that a replacement has been found. On our last extra class, I came clean about my confusion and asked her, “What was the point of all this Ms. Tewari?” She said, “Osama, you were obviously more than capable of getting an A* in that English O level since day one. You reminded me of a young Diana Tewari. I saw myself in you; we do have the same dream after all. You are a step closer to writing that amazing bestseller now, don’t you think?”
If it wasn’t for Ms. Diana Tewari, I would probably have been an annoying, self righteous person who never had the guts to explore beyond their narrow horizon. ! I realize now that I know nothing and have seen nothing of what is to be known and seen. Ms. Tewari's success wasn’t just intellectualizing me. She had succeeded in making me aware of my own failures, of the fact that I was the furthest thing from perfection! I probably wouldn’t be in the pursuit of an American education if it wasn’t for her. Some teachers teach you how to solve an algebraic equation or experiment in the science lab. Ms. Tewari taught me how to dream and to me, that was the most important thing in the world.