Here is who I am: I grew up in a predominantly Jewish suburb, in a Jewish family. I celebrate the same holidays as all my friends, have days off from school for Jewish holidays, and feel comfortable in my community.
Here is where I desire to go: Texas, a state and college where I will be part of the minority, where everybody else will be celebrating “other” holidays, where I am not in my comfort zone, where I will be different.
There is much to discover in Texas, and in order to grow, I must meet people who have had different life experiences. Over 80% of the students at the University of Texas are from Texas. Few are Jewish. Through many encounters with the student body, I will open my mind to the rest of the world that is so different from the place where I grew up.
I want to meet many people who represent the ideal that the United States is a melting pot. While looking at my town, one would be shocked to know that less than 5% of the country is Jewish, as there are more than a dozen synagogues and only a few churches. I want to encounter the realities of our country. College is all about growth, and in order to grow I must be surrounded by individuals whose beliefs and customs are unfamiliar to me.
I have lived a sheltered life, but college will be a steppingstone, a foundation on which to become more open-minded and well-rounded. I want to branch out and experience as much as possible through the constant encounters that I will have with students at the University of Texas. What better place to face the melting pot of our country?
I will be able to find my true identity as I deal with difficult situations. Going to college in a different part of the country won’t be easy, but it will be life-changing. An individual cannot be scared of the unknown. By meeting so many people at the University of Texas, I will embrace, get to know, and finally understand different cultures, races, and religions. The classmate I hope to encounter is not one person, but the University of Texas.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.