Table of Contents

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Family: Family is extremely important to me because of how small my family

is. My approach to family is a bit different compared to the normal person in

society. I consider certain people my family, regardless of if we’re related by

blood and I don’t consider some of the members of my family actual family.

This is largely due to how I was raised. Regardless, that doesn’t change how

much I value family, no matter how small.

Racism: People are people, no matter what they look like, the color of their

skin, or where they come from. Minorities should be afforded the same rights

and privileges as the rest of society. We’ve taken steps to try and fix this

injustice in society, but we still have a long way to go. For instance, Black

Lives Matter has helped to shed a light on the treatment of minorities in

America, but it’s been met with resistance, as there are many people in this

country who are still set in their ways. Systematically, minorities have always

been treated differently here, but it continues to get worse--which is why we

have movements to take steps to remedy this--such as BLM. This is

incredibly important to me because all humans should be treated equally, no

matter what. Refining our respect for other cultures and people from

different countries is integral to bettering our society and taking a step

towards a good change.
Love/LGBT+ Rights: People in the LGBT+ community should be able to

love who they love, regardless of the belief system of people around them.

Although we’re leaps and bounds from where we once were, equality and

compassion are still not afforded to people of the LGBT+ community.

Progress doesn’t happen without changing minds and showing people that

being different is okay. But in order to do that, we have quite a fight ahead of

us. This is important to me because I firmly believe that regardless of your

gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, etc, you should be treated with

respect and kindness. To respect the way that another person lives--given

that they don’t harm anyone else--is especially important, as we owe it to

one another not to spread hate. I believe that even if a person thinks they’re

not capable of respecting someone else’s choice/lifestyle/etc, they’re still

obligated to allow them to live that way without ridiculing them or spreading

more hate.

Resilience: Resilience in the face of adversity is one of the most useful

aspects of a resourceful person. Being able to persevere through obstacles

thrown your way is extremely important. Continuously facing these

challenges is part of what makes us successful and for someone more goal

oriented, this is extremely important to me. Although we don’t have to face

these obstacles completely alone, the ability to get back up on your feet

after being knocked down is an extremely useful skill to have.

Women’s rights: Over the past few decades, women have taken many

steps to be afforded the same equal rights as men. For instance, the right to
vote, serve in the military, as well as equal pay and getting paid time off for

leave in their careers. We still have many steps to take in order to ensure

equality among men and women. For example, the gap in wages that a

woman is paid, compared to a man needs to be changed. In order to do this,

we have to keep working towards shattering the glass ceiling.

Thankfulness: Appreciating our privilege and who/what we have in our lives

is something that is very important to me. People should be grateful for what

they have and I think that sometimes, in life, we lose sight of that. We get so

caught up with stress and our daily challenges that we don’t stop to

appreciate what we do have and the people in our lives--the things that

make everything worth it. As kids, we’re taught to be grateful for what we’re

given. But I don’t think we realize how fortunate we were until we’re out on

our own. We also need to be aware of how differently others have it

compared to us. As Americans, we tend to take things for granted quite

often. After we’ve grown used to certain privileges, it’s easy to consider them

a constant. This is important to me, because I see it extremely often in

others and it’s not easy to watch. It makes me re-evaluate myself and how

much I express how grateful I am to have the people/things/opportunities in

my life.

Academic pressure: Our education is considered to be very rigorous and

extremely beneficial compared to other countries. Because of this, people

from other countries even come from overseas to America for a quality

education. But the pressure put on students here is incredibly harsh to deal
with when it comes to keeping up with classes and managing stress. Adding

this to the pressure to choose a path to continue down for the rest of their

lives, students can find it extremely harrowing to pursue a higher education,

especially at such a high cost. Knowing that the stakes are incredibly high,

should you fail, is enough to cause even more stress to the student.

Therefore, the pressure from having to pay such high tuition becomes very

strenuous for students. The pressure that is put on college students can be

damaging to their health as well as the way that they pursue their goals and

plans for the future.

The Cost of Education: The cost of an education is ridiculous. Knowledge

should be something that is attainable--even for the least fortunate person

(when it comes to money). The idea that only people with parents that are

well off can go to school is disgraceful. Education needs to be more

affordable and there for anyone in society to take advantage of, should they

choose to pursue it. As it is now, we get our degrees with thousands and

thousands of dollars of student loans under our belt. These can take many

years to pay off, depending on what field you go into. So essentially, sending

graduates out into the world to search for a job with these loans weighing us

down is much like throwing someone into the ocean with weights around

their ankles. Being unable to keep up with the debt you’ve accumulated

while trying to better yourself sets a person up for failure.
The Credo

Family is the most important thing to me, but not in the way that it is

for most. Like most people, the way I was raised formed most of my

convictions about the world around me. I was born into a particularly odd

family. At the time, my mother was a Christian and my father was Muslim. My

mom was from Kansas City and my dad was from Gaza. Because of the

differences in their religions, it caused quite a few issues over the years and

by the time I was five, they were divorced and my sisters and me moved in

with my grandparents where they raised us. We moved back and forth quite

a bit and I’m sure that has a bit to do with how quickly my sisters and I

bounce back from failure and disappointment.

Growing up with our grandparents as our parental figures, there were a

few things that probably differed from the normal household. We established

that Christianity would be a big part of our life as soon as we stepped in the

door. Along with that, we were raised in an old fashioned way. Because of

this, I grew up thinking a lot of things that I don’t today. What’s more, we

were just kids--so we were like sponges for facts about it. Instead of being

taught about multiple religions, we were taught about Christianity.

My grandparents were good people and instilled good values in us, but

a few things that connected with their faith were skewed. For instance, my

stance on things like suicide, gay marriage, even rock music (yeah, rock
music) changed drastically. As I grew up, I had the chance to piece together

my own thoughts and opinions, based on the information given to me.

However, there were staples in our childhood that didn’t necessarily sway

me either way. Our lives consisted of quite a bit of bible study, Disney

movies, and make believe. We were raised in a very sheltered manner, and

that still affects the way that I interact with people today. I think the fact that

my childhood was rooted in such strict values of faith, that may be a portion

of why I resent Christianity the way I do today. It’s strange to look back on

your past and see explanations for portions of your personality today.

Regardless, my sisters and I grew extremely close to our grandparents and

each other. When you’re plunged into an unfortunate situation, you cling

onto those you love most, and I think that’s why my sisters are such a big

part of my life today. Because of my circumstances, I grew up softer-

hearted--maybe even naive. But I grew up with the ability to see the good in

people easily, which I still carry today.

We moved back in with my mom by the time I reached middle school.

Through the years, my dad kept his job nearby and saw us once a week for

visitation. So, for a good decade of our lives, neither of our parents were in

our lives. Instead, we had our grandparents. Because of this, the transition to

living with my mother again after she had remarried twice was kind of

difficult. My mother and I have never really gotten along and because of that,

we had many problems. By the time I reached high school, she thought it

would be the best option to have me live with my dad. Living with my dad
and stepmom was an incredibly big change, as I was given a completely

different system of values. Their standards were higher than I had ever

experienced and it affected the way I adjusted to living there.

Eventually, I adapted to it and it honestly helped me become a better

student. However, that wasn’t the only thing that was different. Living there

was a little strange because of the fact that I had never spent more than a

weekend with him and my stepmom before. I was also away from my sisters,

for the three years I lived with him and I had never been away from them for

an extended period of time. Shortly after moving in with my dad, I lost my

grandma in her battle with cancer. As she was the closest thing I had to a

mom, it took a toll on my studies, but it helped to shape who I was as a

person. She taught me resilience and that’s something I still carry with me

today.

On another note, the move to my dad’s was a change in culture, as

they spoke Arabic quite a bit--which I had been around with my dad, but it

wasn’t enough to pick anything up. Living with them made me even more

open minded and I’m sure that’s why I’m even more receptive to different

languages and knowledge about other cultures today. Long story--short, I

graduated and went to Northwest Missouri State University to pursue a

degree in Music education. Completely on my own financially, it proved to be

a struggle, but I’m still pushing through and working hard to get past each

new challenge thrown my way.
I find it interesting to see how differently a person views the world,

based on their upbringing. However, that’s not the sole reason for including

my life story in this. All of these details helped to form what family means to

me as a value and why it’s so incredibly important to me. Although it’s not

the traditional sense, my sisters and my grandpa are the most important

people in my life. They help guide me in the right direction every day.

Growing up, my older sister was my role model and she gave me the

confidence to strive for what I wanted in my future. My grandpa taught me to

stand up for what I believe in. Because of him, my values are extremely

important to me. Although I’m incredibly open minded, when it comes to my

values--especially concrete ones like human rights and such, it’s hard to

sway my opinion.

Furthermore, the way that I was raised instilled certain convictions in

me, such as believing that being altruistic, good hearted, and resilient makes

for the best kind of success. For instance, growing up in the absence of two

legitimate parents, my sisters and I grew closer to one another and relied on

our grandparents with viewpoints two generations older to raise us.

Furthermore, because of how few people in my family I’m close to,

lifelong friends quickly became like family to me. I’m a firm believer that

family doesn’t always have to mean related by blood. I consider them my

blood and don’t know where I would be without them. Because they’ve

become so alike to family to me, it also affects how I approach certain

situations.
Family is extremely important to me and always will be something that

I hold close to my heart. Because of my sisters and my grandpa, family is an

incredibly important value to me.