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I lived in a small town in northern California for most of my childhood. I attended elementary school, and was involved in pretty much everything — especially the performing arts. When I was in fifth grade my parents announced that we’d be moving to Ventura, California — the first major change in my life. For a long time my life was turned upside down. I moved to Ventura and made the transition from elementary school to middle school, which was a huge step in itself. Eventually I made friends, and settled into my new school and community.
Life changed again when I chose to attend Foothill Technology High School, a small college-preparatory magnet school. All of my friends chose to go to the other local high schools, which were much easier to get good grades at than my choice. Even so, I’ve never regretted my decision to attend Foothill. I’ve grown intellectually and emotionally because of the stimulating environment and motivation of the teachers and students. I’ve been involved in shaping my new school’s reputation since my freshmen year: I was the Club Director in the Associated Student Body, participated in school-organized events, joined many organizations, and sang for fundraisers. There is one major need in my life, though, that Foothill has not been able to accommodate: the opportunity to study the performing arts. I’ve been fortunate to find opportunities to study the arts in other ways throughout the years.
In 2003 I was selected as a California Arts Scholar in Vocal Music, which provided me with the opportunity to study at the California State Summer School for the Arts on the Cal Arts campus. I spent one month studying music with professionals and talented student-artists from around the world, constantly immersed in my art — collaborating with other students, studying world music, history, theory, and receiving individual instruction from professionals. This experience was life-changing. I was living like a college student in a dorm, learning to be responsible for myself, studying my art form in depth while learning about others, and working with the most diverse and artistically talented group of people that I have ever encountered. We came together like one chorus, blending many different voices and harmonies together to create one song. During this time I matured emotionally, artistically, and intellectually. Suddenly a light went on, and everything seemed clearer. I became committed to my art — I decided that I wanted to study it in more depth during high school as well as college.
Throughout the rest of my high school career, I have been studying music at the local community college. Having the chance to take classes at the college level with college-aged students has been very rewarding. I have been able to take classes several evenings a week- learning different styles of dance, music fundamentals, studying voice, and even performing in college shows. I’ve studied with very talented teachers and students, challenging myself to stretch and grow along the way. Because taking additional classes on top of my regular scheduled coursework is very time consuming, I’ve learned to organize and manage a busy schedule on my own. I have learned to work at a higher academic level.
Being in shows at Ventura College, and elsewhere, has always been a big part of my life. Since I was young I’ve performed in small community theater shows, young artist shows, semi-professional civic light opera shows, dinner theater shows, and school/community college shows. During this time, I’ve performed in more than twenty shows. Performing and singing have always been the most meaningful of my activities; the whole experience is amazing. The cast bonds and works together, overcoming obstacles as difficult as the suicide of a fellow cast member halfway through the run. The performer’s life is intense, because everything each individual has goes into his or her piece of art. We have to give up our comforts and time and be absolutely selfless, working as a team, because if we don’t, the result isn’t believable. I love being on stage in costume, dancing, singing, acting. With each new experience I have to stretch my comfort zone and talents to new levels. With each new experience I meet new people and learn more music. When I combine the experience of bonding, learning, stretching my limits, and a chance to perform music in front of an audience, I become excited because I feel so fortunate to be able to participate in an activity that affects my life in such a positive way.
As a sophomore I was selected to be a Peer Helper (counselor) at Foothill. I was trained to help students with types of issues ranging from simple problems with their friends, to more serious issues such as suicide. I’ve been a member of this program for three years now, and I am currently one of four student officers in the program. I’ve discovered that I have a passion and great ability for helping people, mainly as a result of all of the years I’ve spent with such a diverse group in theater, learning to be tolerant and understanding. During my sophomore year I began to notice that my boyfriend was depressed and suicidal. Between my realization and the time when this situation became out my hands, my skills as a Peer Helper and my ability to make good decisions in urgent and frightening situations was tried. Eventually I helped him seek hospital treatment, and he was diagnosed with a disorder related to Autism. This event was difficult for me emotionally, and I grew from the struggle. Helping him through his depression was also the event that specifically sparked my interest in Psychology.
Looking back at all of the years of my life, I feel that all of the activities I have been involved in all my life are going to pay off. Someday I hope to find a career in psychology, helping people improve their lives. I have a gift for understanding people; one of my best qualities is empathy. This quality, my gift of understanding, is important to me because I can use it to make someone happy, to bring a smile to someone’s face. If I can make a difference — if I can contribute anything to this world — it will be through helping people, because I have both the passion and the ability. I also hope to find some side career or way to be continually involved in theater and music, because my life could never be complete without it. What is really important to me in my future is happiness. My definition of success is this happiness, which I know I can achieve with a loving family, an inspiring career, and a healthy and artistic lifestyle.
I know that Chapman’s small school environment will be good for me and provide me with opportunities to be involved in as many different ways as my small high school does. I know it can help me to build the foundations for what I need to achieve happiness. I hope to receive a well-rounded education. I plan to work in the community, study the performing arts, and gain the knowledge and degree I need to become a successful psychologist. College will be my time to grow and mature, to learn about the real world, and to make decisions about my life. I am confident that with my work ethic, and all that Chapman has to offer in my areas of interest, that I will be able to achieve whatever goals I set for myself for my future, and to be successful in anything I choose to do.
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