Today's student showcase essay comes all the way from Hawaii by high schooler Mackenna C. The essay below is Mackenna's personal statement essay, an essay type usually requested in college applications. As you read below, you'll see Mackenna's unique personality shine through as she describes her interests and important experiences in life. Mackenna is participating in the Essay Rock Star full semester program.
by Mackenna C.
Who decided being a little weird was a negative thing? In order to be who I should be, I need to embrace and challenge myself. Despite being different than my peers, I haven’t let it stop me from expanding my compassion and view of the world.
I have never fit into a particular category. For a long time, it pained me that I had few genuine friends. Isolation was frightening and lonely. However, I began to accept being alone. Introverted as I am, I actually developed a peaceful state while being by myself. Although I have an absolute best friend now, I know the number of friends I have doesn't define me. I learned it was alright to stand out in a crowd. After all, I rarely develop an interest in popular iPhone games and Instagram trends. I'd much rather talk about deep, serious topics, rather than drama or fashion. I am completely obsessed with Star Wars as well. When I was younger, girls my age would look at me strangely when I told them I loved the movie saga. "It's for boys,” they would comment. At one point, I would deny liking it if one of my peers asked me. Over time, however, I realized there was nothing wrong about liking a certain area of entertainment. I now take my geekiness and own it, proudly wearing Star Wars t-shirts and gladly talking about my love for it. In addition, being a vegan automatically disqualifies me as "average.” Usually when I tell people I am a vegan, they stiffen and cringe as if they are expecting me to judge them. I have had my closest family members laugh at me for being passionate about it. It can be frustrating, though I understand living a vegan life is quite peculiar and new to most people. I'm okay with that. All new ideas are weird at first. I can say that I am content with my life choices, despite them being unconventional. For the most part, I prefer conversations discussing world or personal issues. I regularly think from a deeper perspective compared to others. When I was younger, I would try forcing myself to act "normal" around my peers. I had stopped talking in many conversations, uncomfortable at the bored expressions on my peers' faces when I shared my thoughts. Looking at the situation now, I realize I hadn't found my people yet. I could find people who valued my opinions if I looked for them. Therefore, I no longer cover up my personality purely for social acceptance. I truly love my heart and I have grown to love being different from the rest.
At a young age, I quickly developed a whole-hearted compassion for everything around me. I continue to find Earth fascinating! All of the animals, plants, elements, and cultures are beautifully unique and stunning! As my knowledge has grown, my passion of preventing more pollution has grown with me. As human beings, we develop such strong bonds to worldly objects. We forget our humanity and make choices that harm others. Hence, I humbly believe that we need to open our eyes to environmental issues and create efforts to lessen harm on this planet. For example, I no longer use single-use plastic bags. I had seen much plastic debris in the ocean. Unfortunately, thousands of marine life species die due to plastic waste. I knew I had to limit my plastic use in any way I could. At first, giving up plastic bags was challenging. I was used to having a bag available to me at the store checkout. However, I developed a habit of bringing my own cloth bags from home or just carrying all my items. Additionally, I spoke to the Hawaii City Council about plastic bags and how plastic is a danger to our ecosystems. I found public speaking extremely stressful. Nevertheless, educating others about pollution is important to me. It's worth facing my fears. As an overall animal and environmental enthusiast, I have trained myself to think deeper about my everyday choices. My little conveniences are not worth a sea turtle suffocating or coral reefs dying. While it is nearly impossible today to avoid all plastic or other detrimental items, I do my best to find alternatives that don't harm anything. Our choices have an impact. I hope to help others understand that, too.
Over the years, my eyes have been opened to a world filled with poverty. I am guilty of forgetting how blessed I am. I have complained about being tired or how bad my day has been. Although my struggles matter at some level, my life could easily be less pleasant. When I was five, I traveled to Belize with my family. I was submerged into a different culture. I loved it. I found a satisfaction in learning about other countries. At ages eleven through thirteen, I traveled to Indonesia with my family for our annual mission trips. There are many beautiful parts of Indonesia. The island Nias, on the other hand, was not. The air was filled with cigarette smoke and most houses were severely run down. It's more common than not for a child to have only one living parent. There is not an easy access to medicine or hospitals. Most children are working beside their parents as pre-teens. Yet, all the people we met were incredibly welcoming! They would attempt to speak English and wanted to play games with us. They would love interacting with our family, especially the children at the children's home my grandpa founded. The boys and girls were thrilled to have guests and were extremely grateful for the new toys we would bring them. I always loved visiting the kids. I was continuously intrigued and pleased to be in their company. Back in America, I take a lot for granted. I forget how simple it is to have cold water or electricity. Seeing poverty and destruction, I am continuously humbled at how much I have been blessed. These experiences that were given to me have immensely influenced my perspective and shaped who I am today. For this reason, I couldn't be more thankful.
At first, it was hard knowing I was different. I view the world from unusual perspectives. However, being a little weird is a wonderful thing. I have challenged myself and have grown more and more compassionate. I love who I have become and I'll continue to encourage others to embrace who they are, as well.