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SCORENAVIGATOR SCHOLARSHIP WINNER - MAAZ AHMED 1ST PLACE (ESSAY)


A dazzling ray of sunlight entered my bedroom through the gorgeous drapes that hang from the brilliant white walls. When the light hit me in the face, I awakened in my cozy bed with lots of pillows snuggled under my covers. I climbed out of my bed, stretched out a lot, and stared out the window where I was delighted by the joyful singing and dancing of the townspeople…


Now if you thought any of that was true, boy, are you going to be disappointed! In reality, I woke up on an old beaten-down mattress on the floor of my parent's bedroom with just a single pillow and a blanket. Why is that? Because it was the only room with an air conditioner, and on a hot summer night in Lahore, Pakistan, you needed an AC. I went to the window and saw the neighborhood kids playing on the unpaved street and the adults who were watching over them, with handheld fans fanning themselves but still drenched in sweat. I turn on our “vintage” 13-inch TV, you know the ones you have to slap for them to work and watch soapy dramas all day.


Now I know what you’re thinking, “Dang, this kid had it rough.” I didn’t though, that was the only life I knew and I was happy with it. Even when the government interrupted the energy supply to the town every other hour to spread the demand for electrical power, my siblings and I saw it as an opportunity to tell each other scary stories, even if it gave us nightmares. The scariest part for me, however, was the occasional lizard sightings in the house. It wasn’t until my family and I moved to America that I realized, we did have it rough. My little nine-year-old self was about to go through shocking discoveries. I remember my first day in America, when I asked my cousin for a glass of water and she handed me a glass of tap water, I looked at her like she was crazy! What lunatic drinks tap water!? Don’t even get me started on the library, you check out a book for free and return it within two weeks, now that’s luxurious.


The point I’m trying to convey is that from an American perspective, my life in Pakistan was not one of luxury or comfort. However, compared to children's lives in underdeveloped nations around the world, my life in Pakistan is still a hundred times better. In America, most of us live comfortably in our homes or apartments, we tend to take the little things for granted. We forget that children are living on the streets who lack access to food, water, clothing, and other necessities. I am determined to change how the most unfortunate live since I have personally witnessed how they suffer. There are numerous challenges in America as well, but compared to the starving kids in Yemen, or the flooded regions of Pakistan, we are very fortunate.


I want to pursue higher education in government and international affairs, to help not only the citizens of our nation but also our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the globe. I am aware that I cannot change the world on my own, but I will attempt it nonetheless. My goals are lofty and perhaps even impossible but, the nine-year-old version of myself keeps me inspired every day. No force in this world will be powerful enough to defeat me and the nine-year-old Maaz in our fight for humanity. I hope you consider me for this scholarship and join my fight.

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