Formative Background Sample 1

Essay Prompt

There is a Quaker saying: “Let your life speak.” Describe the environment in which you were raised—your family, home, neighborhood or community—and how it influenced the person you are today. (Required length is 200-250 words)

Sample Essay

5:51am. I hear the alarm go off. I open my eyes, turn on the lights, and see the mural that has been on my wall ever since I was born. My oldest sister, Betsy, picks flowers while my middle sister Jenny swings and I host a tea party in the elaborate garden. I have woken up in this same room, in the same house, in the same town, and gone to the same school for my entire life.  All of this sameness might limit others, but it has given me the foundation I need to imagine a much bigger future for myself.

And while everything about my life is seemingly the same, in truth, everything has matured with me including my room.  As I grew, so did the bed. My bulletin board filled up with birthday cards, pictures of friends, and vocabulary flash cards. As I planned a project to deliver Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, the baskets took over the once empty floor. As I struggled through AP European History, a timeline spreading around all four walls hung proud. And after I went on a community service trip to the Dominican Republic to learn about environmental problems, pictures from the trip covered the walls, my showers became cold and my lights remained off all in an effort to remind me of how important it is to be part of the solution.  

Very shortly, I will leave this room behind and I am ready.  I am equipped to go out into the world and occupy new rooms confident that I will fill them with people I love and information I learn.  However, I confess I’m glad that the little girl having a tea party in the garden will be patiently waiting when I come home for vacations or family celebrations (at least I think she will – my parents haven’t mentioned anything about re-doing the room or moving).

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