Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it?
This is a prompt that the UW has asked me to write to. They’re asking me many questions in order to get a broad understanding of who I am. This is what I plan to let them know about the wonderful place I call home.
In this small town that I call home, a rich, nurturing, loving environment has thrived, and I was unaware until recently that only a select few people experience a loving community like the one I have been blessed with during my upbringing. This small, rural, unknown farm country is filled with magnificent people. There’s something different about our small town of Hockinson and I’m thankful to have recognized it.
Growing up, I began to build relationships with my peers. We began preschool together, played on the same soccer teams, and continued through grade school as time went on. We’ve seen each other grow, change, and mature; we’ve seen the good sides and the not-so-good sides of everyone. We stuck with each other in the awkward middle school years and became beautiful young adults together. Everyone knew everyone throughout everything and that’s how it’s always been.
It came as quite a shock to me to discover than it won’t always be this way, nor did many people grow up like this. I was blessed with ample time to know everyone on an intimate level; none of us grew up alone. This environment helped to develop the compassionate heart and caring attitude I see in everyone from Hockinson.
A particular event comes to mind that enforces this thought. At our homecoming football game, the homecoming court is recognized. These are student-voted students who display great character and compassion wherever they go. Amongst them was a boy named Colton. Colton has been in our class since day one, back in the year 2000. He is the biggest football fan that Hockinson has ever seen. He cannot play due to mental handicaps. Despite that, he is always on the sidelines making calls and cheering on his friends. On the homecoming float, he was having a wonderful time. Although verbal communication is difficult for him, his expression said it all. While he was not crowned our homecoming king, the gentleman who was crowned immediately removed his crown and placed it on the head of our good friend Colton. A few weeks later, the football team chipped in money and were able to award him with his very own lettermen’s jacket with all of the accessories. I have never seen such joy before that night.
It’s an amazing thing to live in a community where we can look beyond how someone looks, how someone dresses, or how someone was born. Beyond these things, we see everyone for who they truly are, and can love them for simply that: who they are. I’ve been blessed with my surroundings and know that our town is different than most. We pride ourselves on our unity and ability to come together in crisis and in celebration. We value the abundant time given to us by extending genuine interest in the lives of others, and this is what gives me confidence in saying that we’re different from any other community; we’re unique and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.