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Although I may appear to be a typical male suburbanite from the predominantly white Monroe Township, I have intimately known and collaborated with a most diverse group of staff members through my experiences with the Monroe Falcon newspaper. As the layout editor and later a co-editor-in-chief of my school newspaper, I have played an important role in its development and production over the years; this full-time job has required me to understand and work with people of countless different backgrounds, ages, races, and dispositions.
I spend almost twenty hours a week working for the newspaper at school, time that includes frequent meetings at unusual hours. There is nothing quite like the experience of getting to know my colleagues over hot slices of pizza in the production room at 10 P.M. on a Monday night. We have bonded through episodes such as these, and I now spend even more time out of school socializing with my friends from the newspaper.
While working late nights laying out articles before a deadline, it is perfectly commonplace for Alejandro Sosa, one of our Executive Editors, to dive into a diatribe against Sean, our blue-eyed, blonde-haired Business Manager, for being a "racist fascist white oppressive pig." It is also ordinary for Billy, our Sports Editor, to bitterly altercate with Kaivan, another co-editor-in-chief, over the timeliness of his football articles. Fortunately, Natasha always soothes the tension between them with her home-baked brownies and kind words.
As the head layout and graphics editor for the Monroe Falcon, many staff members request me to create 3D-modeled images for their articles. I often work on short notice and strict deadlines in an environment where both my grades and my pride in the newspaper are at stake; this pressure tests my patience and ability to cooperate with our seventeen staff members.
Working in an often hectic environment with such varied characters has made me comfortable with different types of people. Where else could I have worked on a team with such assorted people? My relationships with the staff have familiarized me with Greek, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Guyanese, Bangladeshi, Irish, German, and African American culture, not to mention multiple religious beliefs as well. These interpersonal skills will help me to succeed in a diverse collegiate environment, especially one as large as Rutgers University.
My experiences with the diversity of others have led me to explore and cherish my own culture. Although I have been blessed to be of Cherokee descent, I find it unfortunate that very few people share this heritage with me. One of my grandmothers is a half-Cherokee; however, she refuses to speak about her childhood or upbringing. Not wanting to miss out on a rich part of my heritage, I took it upon myself to independently learn about this lost part of my culture. I visited a Cherokee burial site in Texas to better understand my ancestry and myself. This important, historical facet of my culture is something I would like to share with others in the Rutgers community.
The diversity of the student body at Rutgers strongly appeals to me. I believe that broad and unique experiences are necessary in order to achieve a complete existence, and this involves meeting and interacting with as many kinds of people as possible. To resign myself to a single group or type of people is to condemn myself to ignorance and close-mindedness forever. I believe that I can enrich my character and share my unique experiences at Rutgers University.
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