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Disadvantaged Status Essay for Dental School, Indian

I spent the first 16 years of my life in our native India before we immigrated to America. My country is very stratified in terms of social class and educational and subsequently economic opportunities are generally very strictly allotted along class lines. Among the poorer classes of our society, very few children grow up to be dentists. Most dentists in India come from the upper middle classes of society. I come from the lower middle class of India and feel most fortunate, therefore, to have the opportunity to apply to dental school as a competitive candidate. I will feel even more fortunate if I am accepted. Most of all, however, I ask to be able to focus 100% on my studies as a student in dental school and I hope to be able to do so as a result of being granted disadvantaged student status.

School was never difficult for me, except with respect to how much it costs, fees, materials. Great stress hung in the air in my house growing up, arguments over the cost of school were frequently; the other things that could have been purchased with this money often came up in conversation. There were no shiny new toys in my life; we could never afford the special treats at the store. I felt fortunate to be one of the children who at least had a bicycle to ride to school, even if it was one of the most old and beat up of all the bikes outside. I rode that bike 5 kms every day through the scorching heat of summer, crazy monsoons, and chilly winters. While many of my classmates had private tutors to help them gain an academic edge, this was way beyond the means of my parents. After school every day, I taught myself.

I am very thankful that we were able to immigrate permanently to America in time for me to complete my last two years of high school on schedule in New York. This helped me to begin college more or less on an even footing with my American peers, fully adjusted to the vastly different cultural environment. At first, I was very shy and comfortable, scared to death that people would make fun of my Indian accent. Getting through high school was quite rough. While my dad was working day and night to provide us with a roof over our heads and food to eat, he had not time to help me with anything, especially school, even if he were capable of helping. I'm the first one in my family to complete high school and college. During my first two years of college, I worked full-time as a waitress to pay my college fees and expenses. Again, it was hard to concentrate on school and work because there was always arguments and disputes over money. I also helped to take care of my sick grandmother who lived with us all through my college years. During my last two years of college, I took a job at the hospital as a Unit Receptionist to help my father with the household expenses on top of my educational expenses.

Nevertheless, I am proud to have come so far when one considers my humble origins and the economic struggle that we have had as a family throughout our lives. I was taught at an early age that I had no right to advanced education and the kind of satisfying career that it brings, especially because I was a woman and expected to dedicate myself primarily to home and family since Indian society is highly patriarchal and very discriminatory towards girls with respect to education and career advancement. For years now, I have looked up to women who do buck the system and advance to the highest echelons of society. Another source of strength has been my devotion to the Sikh religion. We believe that women have the same souls as men and, thus, an innate spiritual equality.  It is said that founder Guru Nanak proclaimed the full equality of men and women. Thus, I was raised with a host of vastly different messages about my place in the world.

My undergraduate education has infused me with an extremely high level of motivation and a renewed sense of direction and purpose. I want to become the finest dentist that I possibly can and never losing sight of my moral and spiritual duty to help the underserved to the fullest extent of my ability.

I chose dentistry because I love to see people smile. When you have known repression as I have, a smile can be a radiant statement of self-renewal and nothing would bring me greater joy than a lifetime of devotion to the smile of those whom I serve. I hope to devote my lifetime to ongoing learning, especially about restoration at the same time that I give my all to education efforts in oral hygiene, both here in America and back in India.

I thank you for our consideration of my application for disadvantaged student status.

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