Undergraduate College Essay

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Eyes shut. Deep breaths. Eyes open. It is the first day of freshman year. I switched to an Islamic boarding school during eighth grade, and now I am back to public school. It's time to reintroduce myself to the same people I knew just a year ago. The rush of emotions going through my head wondering what my old friends will say and if anyone will even remember me.
I haven't spoken to anyone yet. I don't even bother going to my locker; I head straight to first period, Honors English 1. Looks like I happen to have classmates I know from before. To my surprise, they all look past what's on my head, and talk to me. Class began with the typical “first day” routine where teachers explain rules and assign seats. Suddenly the bell rings, and the excited, yet nervous freshmen all jolt towards the door with me following close behind. As the day continues with the repetition of first period, I finally get back on the bus to get home. I find an empty seat and start to get comfortable for the 40 minute bus ride home. While I was busy untangling my earphones, I felt my bag move closer to me. I look up and recognize an old friend. We begin a casual conversation about our first days, but I can see her glancing at my hijab every few seconds. For the first time, I explain the new me.
“You're probably wondering what's up with the thing on my head.”
She stares back at me with solemn curiosity, “I didn't know if I should mention it.”
“It's called a hijab,” pointing towards my scarf, “It's a Muslim head covering, which is part of my religion. It represents modesty, so people won’t judge me by my appearance, but they’ll like me for my personality and character.”
She looks at me with astonishment and replies, “It's different, but I like it!”

Here I am today as a junior and as an early graduate. I proudly wear my hijab, as it is a symbol of my faith. The challenges and struggles that I endured trying to maintain my principles, as well as assimilate to American society, have shaped  me to become who I am today. My hijab has given me self-respect and has allowed me to value myself as a young woman. I have developed a sense of understanding for others' traits which make them unique. Not all reactions were as comforting as the one my friend gave me, but I will always have that moment to cherish and remember. My hair may be covered, but my mind is wide open.





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