Ollege Essay-Personal Statement (Personal or Creative which best describes you)

Please review the following draft essay and make creative changes as well as grammatical corrections.

The metal-clad doors, security alarms and 10-foot high walls encased with menacing steel spikes and cement laden glass fragments confused me; I felt this house was more of a prison than any home I ve ever lived in. And yet despite all these precautions, the local  Habaneros were hardly ever undeterred from salvaging what they could from the garden. Resigned to live under these circumstances, my parents offered little excuse except only to note the desperate state of affairs of proud people hungry and conditioned to survive. Being a kid barely into Middle School, it still left a rather lingering impression, as did an Angolan schoolmate, Chicongo, who assumed and later embarrassed me in front of the class questioning whether I was a racist. His remarks as well as life in my  walled-in home in this local barrio of Havana were poignant memories that still affect me today.

As an American living in the politically-charged environment in Havana, I vividly remember the sanctions imposed on us by the host government, but somehow I repressed the extreme poverty that gripped the neighborhood. Suffice it to say, I regrettably lived with the belief that it was my neighbors fault for my mistrust, and as a result, my lack of sympathy for them. It seemed like it was second nature to react defensively and suspiciously towards people of different backgrounds without first understanding them or underlying reasons for their conditions. Yet fortunately or unfortunately for us, it would take the violent storm to break down this otherwise sturdy wall. One late evening during a strong tropical storm, unexpectedly, a neighbor banged on our door and warned us of a serious flood condition that threatened all our homes. Surveying the damage a day after, we awkwardly joined our neighbors in removing the debris from the street, and later pitching in to help those families that fared poorly in the storm. I soon witnessed how myopic misperceptions can be; I understood and appreciated how families were helping families regardless of their political affiliation. In many ways, we who allowed distrust and suspicion to be supplanted by cooperation and kindness were the true survivors of the storm that could have knocked down our fragile human spirit.

At school it was not entirely different; many times over I would encounter unpleasant comments about my nationality or multiracial background. In regards to Chicongo, who later became a friend, I found out that his father, an Angolan Vice-Counsel, told him that all Americans are racist and therefore should not be trusted. Possibly being the first American he ever met, especially at this international school comprised mostly of children of third-world country nationals, I knew why he felt that way. This sentiment also extended beyond Cuba. I remember while living in Brussels, the way students were classified by nationality, religious beliefs, and their perceived political affiliations rather than by their personality or character. Despite these contrived sensitivities, I believe that I was able to eventually develop a number of really good friendships that I still cherish today.

I have come to realize that we get to choose our paths and ignore other alternatives because certain experiences in our unique pasts do influence the direction of our decision-making processes. Although nurtured in various settings and cultures the seemed to underscore differences yet encourage separation, I have learned to make a conscious effort to avoid allowing my inner  walls securing me from reaching out to others. Life has taught me thus far that we need to be conscious in our effort to build cultural bridges rather than conditioned to build walls without doorways that often lead to understanding to what is on the other side.