I am applying for UCSB's grad school and they require a diversity essay to be submitted. I don't believe I have much of a background to provide a significant amount of diversity being an average white male who hasn't traveled too far outside of the US, only to mexico and canada. I have written a bit about my background, but feel that it needs some improvement.
Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement
UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income. Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.
And this is what I have written so far:
At birth, I was given a long list of deadly food allergies, which I believe have largely affected my personality. As a grade-schooler, the school cafeteria was a battle ground with food flying at all times. One day, a stray goldfish cracker made its way into my shirt, and I soon had to be escorted to the school nurse’s office as my throat began to close. My own body was attacking me, but I was familiar with this, and I knew that I had to just stay calm until I could be saved by a shot of epinephrine. I have had many close calls, but I remember that one most clearly because of the circumstance that lead to the attack. It happened because of a lack of communication and mindfulness. It is impossible to know the background of everyone around you at all times, so I use this as a rather extreme example to remind myself that people around me have their own fears, dreams, thoughts, and backgrounds. Being mindful has allowed me to connect to people in a more meaningful way than I could under any other circumstance. It has allowed me to learn about and understand other cultures, through my encounters with people from around the world.
I have had the privilege of meeting many people from around the world through my volunteer work at the Cleveland Clinic, in which we provide meals during thanksgiving for patients on the oncology floors. Through my involvement in the Marching Virginians, I learned to work together with a group of 250 people from various backgrounds in order to put on a great performance. One of my many hobbies is learning foreign languages like German, Swedish, Japanese, and Greek for example. I meet with native speakers who want to practice their English and have a good time. I have made many friends by meeting with people and learning about their languages and cultures.
I was thinking I might be able to add that I traveled across country to california from virginia once to go to an internship out in california.