A Time When You Had To Relate To Someone Whose Life Experience Was Very Different From Your Own

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Reflecting on a Unique Background and Bridging Differences

Reflect on your unique background and tell us about a time when you had to relate to someone whose life experience was very different from your own. How did you approach the difference? If put in a similar situation again today, would you respond differently? If so, how?

A Meaningful Encounter

            There is a saying that goes, "The beautiful outlook is always the same, but the interesting soul is usually hard to meet". When I was in middle school, I comprehended the meaning of these words in depth.

Forging a Friendship

            During the first day in middle school, almost all of the other students were strangers except two boys who were my neighbors, thus making friends was the main activity. I was mostly attracted to one particular classmate who wore old, patchy clothes who sat in front of me in class. It was a long while since I saw this kind of clothing, so I became concerned to enquire from the classmate what was wrong. I calculated my moves and approached him whereafter exchanging greetings I came to know he was Thomas.

Building a Connection

            Day by day, Thomas and I became close friends and shared our lives encounters and experiences. I came to understand Thomas came from a now poor family due to a burden they had of offsetting a bank loan taken some years back to set up a business that failed. It painfully dawned on me why he had to wear such old tattered clothes. Thomas was kind enough to share his family's story only with me after noticing my genuineness different from most of the other classmates who only laughed and made fun of him due to this type of clothes. As a result, he had survived in class with loneliness before I came something that made me pity him even more. Moreover, my realization that some of the classmates made fun of his dressing while not caring to understand the reason behind it made me develop a natural hating for them. I chose to completely ignore such students and never engage in any of their activities while I remained a friend to Thomas.

A Positive Outcome

            Whenever I reflect back on those moments, I feel proud of myself for the wise choice and decision I made of keeping a friend of Thomas. Thomas was unique and very bright despite his situation, and he helped me improve my performance in Mathematics. We both performed excellently and proceeded to senior grade. Most of the classmates who used to laugh and make him cow under their superiority ended up failing in their exams. I feel that if only they showed him love and concern, they would have realized his talent benefited from his assistance too and excelled in their exams. If I could live up those years again, I would advise them to stop looking down with contempt upon the poor and unfortunate and instead engulf each other with love and concern so that as a class, we succeed together unanimously.

August 21, 2023




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