<p>On Columbia’s application there is a designated section to put your essay. I think the area is too small, so I'm considering about just sending my essay on a separate sheet. Is this an "ok" decision or should I just modify my essay?
P.S. heres my essay fell free to comment:</p>
<p>Wouldn’t it be nice if we as a people could live in a society in which a person can be judged strictly on their personality and merit, A place where we are free from the complications of trying to be an individual while following a “designated” path? I have often imagined a world like this, but I have come to the bitter conclusion that such a society will never exist for me, not here or thousands of miles away in my parents’ Nigeria. I am and I feel I always will be, a guest in both my homes.
Culture, is something many people search to gain and others wish to throw away. It’s something some view as a blessing, others a burden. When I think of my past and imagine my future, I see roads filled with twists and turns, holes and hills. Being “me” has always been a struggle, and Nigeria, the one place I imagined would grant me refuge, has closed its doors on me.
I was born on December 12, 1986 and instantly became one of those kids who are like the rest, but never quite the same. I became the little duckling that just wanted to fit in. Growing up, I had to learn through experience what being a typical Nigerian child was all about. Unfortunately my parents and many other Nigerian adults believe that American children, tainted by their parents, are on a mission to destroy me simply because of my last name. This meant: no slumber parties, no going out with friends, no talking to boys until I am married; no fun, no life! However, I learned to adjust, and as I got older my parents became more lenient. I was allowed to sleep over and party with others, but they too were Nigerians. As for boys, I was told that my husband would be a Nigerian, born and raised, from a “good quality” family. I’ve been told of the struggles that my parents have faced throughout their time in the United States, of professors or co-workers who believe that we, as a people, are here to seize all, and I have met Americans who feel that all foreigners should “go back to where they come from.” However, most of my life I’ve tried to pass these warnings off as paranoia, believing that my generation is not like that, believing that “times have changed.” I was wrong.
Everyday I face kids like me, but who dislike me strictly because of the sound of my voice, my name, and, ironically, the color of my skin. For a while I felt that if I could change to fit their comfort then I too would be happy. So I began speaking differently, listening to different music and even using certain products to make my skin lighter, but I soon realized that my actions would change nothing. They laughed when I spoke, “Ha, you sound so fake, like a white girl tryna be black”, and they persistently mocked me behind my back, so I just said “to hell with it all, I quit!” I love the fact that my name means more then just letters on the page: "May God save us, gifts from God". I love that my complexion is complex and unique next to the shades I see everyday. And as for my voice, it’s not “white” or “proper,” it’s me, and that’s all its ever going to be.
Its not only a struggle being Nigerian-American, but it’s hard to deal with Nigerians as well. I have learned that one can rarely trust those they call “friend.” I know them to be fickle and two-faced, and I have watched them lie and destroy each other’s names. I have also heard the way the men regard themselves and all that lies beneath: “I am the head of this household…I married you, you did not marry me.” I stare blankly at the women who are so intimidated by the men. I hate what I see, but I know that I am expected to live that life like a good Nigerian girl. I have been repeatedly told of my designated path. I am 17 and know that I will finish school and become a doctor then go “home” to be found by my good husband, but that’s not what I want. I want to go to the school of my choice and pick my future. I don’t like Nigerian men, and I don’t want to spend my life as they say I must, and admitting that scares the hell out of me; I have spent my life reciting what was pre-written for me and now I feel lost when I have not even taken a step.
There are some kids exactly like me who have found a way to escape from some of these complications by becoming something unnatural like I once tried. I used to envy their success, but today I pity them. With the bad comes the good. I can have the best of both worlds along with the worst; it depends on how I decide to control my life. There will always be barriers on both sides of the Atlantic, but I love knowing that I’m like the rest but not the same; a swan at heart. I enjoy being able to listen to Maroon 5 and Celestain Ukwu; I like being able to proudly wear American Eagle jeans or traditional Nigerian clothing; I like having the opportunity to cheer for the Atlanta Falcons and the Nigerian Super Eagles; and above all I love having two national anthems. So to my families on both sides of the ocean: “Igbo Kwenu, ndi be angie kenenu unu.” My people, I welcome you.”</p>