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Personal Circumstances Essay
Part of his Application for University of Oregon, submitted as his personal statement, fall of 2004.
Throughout my life I have been faced with several challenges, which could have potentially disrupted my education, luckily I have developed the necessary skills to confront and overcome these circumstances.  One of the circumstances that I have had to overcome was to stay focused in an environment, which has not always been conducive to obtaining a solid education.  Many people imagine the life of a teenager as being carefree and simple, but that in not the case in the city I live in.  While growing up in Richmond, California there has been a lot of distractions.  For example, the murder rate of young African Americans in the city is very high, drugs are rampant in the community, not very many of the youth in the community understand the importance of an education, much less if they live or die.  Many youth place more importance on being in a gang than an education.  A large number of the youth don’t even graduate from high school.  They either dropout, go to jail, or unfortunately get murdered. Something as simple as sitting down doing your homework can be a challenge. While trying to study I have often had to contend with hearing gunshots, ambulance or police cars racing up and down the streets.  The library is just a shelter for the homeless and a baby-sitter for young children waiting until their parents get off work. 

Through all of this I have established high expectations and standards for myself.  I am determined not to end up like many of my peers. I have a strong sense of purpose and direction for my life. I am motivated to strive to be the best person I can be, with the understanding that a solid education can lead to self-improvement as well as, social and economic empowerment.

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