Volunteer Work Experience - Essay Example

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This paper is a self-reflection essay related to the volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities. Business to me was more a way of life than means to earn a living. When I was 10 years old, my father was promoted as executive director of a successful upscale night lounge in South Jakarta…
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Volunteer Work Experience
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1. What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.
Business to me was more a way of life than means to earn a living. When I was 10 years old, my father was promoted as executive director of a successful upscale night lounge in South Jakarta. I have always enjoyed the frequent trips to his office, watching gentlemen in fine suits striding about in a purposeful manner, while I tried comprehending their jargon-filled, seemingly unintelligible dialogues. As a little girl, I admired the way my dad communicated with his colleagues and employees, constantly gaining perspective from others points-of-view and making them feel important. I would visualize myself as a successful businesswoman in that male-dominated environment, with my head held as high as my father’s.
When I was a young teenager, my mother would let me conduct simple bookkeeping, perform inventory counts, and supervise the workers while she was away. Working alongside my mother made me realize that my vision of becoming a competent entrepreneur was attainable. My mother’s theory that economics and accounting were the governing languages of business was not only reflected in her business decisions, but also evident in her daily conducts. It was as if her every motion and speech had been calculated for the highest accuracy and efficiency. Her ability to handle tough situations with poise coupled with an undeniable attention to details made her an exceptional businessperson. She was able to keep the family above waters even when my fathers ventures failed.
Whether mom was trying to maintain her little textile shop or tending to her catering business, she always managed to keep an optimistic outlook despite countless missed opportunities and unfruitful investments. Every week, she would gather donations and organize trips to local orphanages. Her intelligence and selfless altruism strengthened my aspirations to soar as a successful businesswoman and break free from society’s patriarchal expectations. My achievements function as a medium from which I could give back to the community.
In the summer of 2010, I felt extremely defeated when my hopes of scoring an internship with the auditing firm Ernst & Young Jakarta was crushed. However, my disappointment left me searching for other opportunities that would allow me to accomplish something in the business world. When my 17 year-old boyfriend came up with a spontaneous idea to build a small Internet business in the underdeveloped area of West Jakarta, I impulsively agreed to be his bookkeeper. Being young and hungry for new knowledge, profit was not really a main concern as the experience itself. We had to strive to improve the organizational structure and pricing methods every week in the hopes of yielding higher incomes. Armed with zero business experience and the few things we learned in school, we poured our hearts and soul to our new project.
I like to believe that I grew a lot as a person in the summer of 2010. Not only did I develop a set of valuable skills on taking chances and choosing risky opportunities, I also got to see the other side of the town where little children would walk barefoot from school to our Internet shop to play online games for an hour. Providing educational games along WarCraft and other sports games, I was glad that our little business puts smiles on their faces after a long day of hard work.
2. Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
Soon after I graduated from tenth grade, my parents decided to send me to a community college in Albany, Oregon so I could also take care of my diabetic grandmother who lived alone during that time. Being one of the very few Asian families who resided in Albany, I felt like a fish out of water, constantly missing home and people with familiar black hair and brown eyes. With my parents’ absence, Oregon’s gloomy weather seemed like a manifestation of my loneliness. I would immerse myself in acts that reminded me of home, such as viewing my friends’ junior year pictures in Facebook for hours. Feeling disoriented with too much introspection, I would often fall into constant self-pity.
One day as I was enviously browsing the online photo albums of my old classmates, I stumbled upon an advertisement for Indonesian food recipes, which made me realize how much I missed my mother’s home cooked Indonesian-style butter fried shrimp. Later that day, I joined my grandmother on a trip to the supermarket to buy groceries and ingredients for the dish. In the evening, as I searched online for a tutorial on how to chop garlic, it suddenly occurred to me that I was trying to cook for the first time. Much like the comfort I receive whenever my mother supported me through all my undertakings, I found a sense of comfort in cooking a delicious home-cooked meal. After 2 hours of awkwardly attempting to synchronize myself with the rhythms of the kitchen, I got the shrimp done. Although successfully cooking a simple meal is nowhere as significant as winning a debate competition in high school, I felt overjoyed because it was an achievement I had gained on my own, occurring outside the familiar support of my parents.
I realized how the dinner worked as bonding experience between me and my grandmother. She talked about her experience living in Indonesia during the Dutch colonization period. It was amazing how food could bring two people together like they never did before. Feeling good about myself, I searched for other easy recipes before going to sleep. As I continued to cook everyday, its process enamored me. My mind was set on the final outcome whenever I cooked, but it was the process I was most engaged with, which allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. The best part occurred when I shared my success or even failure with my grandmother; certain that she felt loved even when the food was bland or overcooked. The wholehearted nature of preparing a meal solidified my mindset on success: it’s not the achievements that define me as a person, but the obstacles that I overcame while trying to achieve something.
Cooking in Oregon had been a symbol of my independence. I felt a certain sense of liberation from being able to choose what to put into my body. Despite my personal struggles, I learned to use the tranquility of the kitchen to develop a new passion for life. No matter what’s inside the refrigerator, I always cooked with enthusiasm. No matter where in the world I was, I go with all my heart. Read More
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