Amman, Jordan


Amman, Jordan is my home. Until I was 15, I lived in an environment filled with joy, with friends, with luxuries, and with freedom; I enjoyed every second of my life and did not worry about school during the years I studied in Jordan.
Because I seldom studied or worked hard in school, my grades suffered and I found myself in difficult situations. I needed to be motivated to do homework, to go places or to meet people I wasn’t interested in – sometimes, even to get out of bed. As time passed and I entered the upper grades of the Amman IB School, my parents and teachers began showing serious concern about my poor performance. I needed to do well in school and to learn much in order to get into a good college and earn a degree in Business Administration, my first choice to study in college.
At the same time my parents realized that I was becoming too dependent on them, on my brothers, on my friends, even on my teachers.

So for three straight years, I attended the six-week Culver Summer Camps in Indiana. I learned a lot through going there each summer; I especially learned how it felt to be independent and responsible by flying overseas alone. I enjoyed feeling the confidence I gained from doing well outside the comforts of my life in Amman.
But summer camp didn’t do much to improve my academic performance. Halfway through my freshman year, I was drooping badly; my grades and my effort were falling steadily. My parents felt I needed to change 180 degrees, so they decided to send me to the Culver Academies for boarding school. They knew I would benefit there; they knew I would enjoy it there as I had enjoyed it in summer camp.
As the last weeks of March passed, and the application materials from Culver started drizzling in by mail, by fax, and by email, I got excited about attending. At another point, though, I grew worried and disheartened because I knew that I would miss my friends and might not see some of them again. I wondered how I was going to survive three years away from home.
The fun days were over. I was off to boarding school. When school started, discipline, responsibility, team work and hard work came down to me pretty fast. I knew I had to change; the difference between what I did when I was home in Amman and what I did here at Culver was immense. I had to be more independent, more aware of everything I did and was supposed to do – I knew I faced difficult consequences when I did wrong.
Over time, I realized that my life has been changing by the hour, changing in the effort I have put forth, in the responsibilities I’ve faced and fulfilled, in the discipline I’ve learned, in the risks I’ve taken to grow and learn in any ways I can. I became more aware of life, more familiar with both Jordanian and American cultures, as well as with those of students from Mexico and China and Korea and Taiwan and Croatia and Honduras.

At first, I couldn’t imagine why my father would be hollering at me. Was it because I did something wrong the night before? Was it because he got a phone call from school? Or was it because I’ve mistreated my mother the night before? What he was yelling about was my indifference towards studying, the way I didn’t care about the future, and the way I wasn’t responsible enough to go out to some places.

This all bit me at the end, with what my dad used to tell me and encourage me turned out to be real. After coming to the Culver Academies, I have learned to be responsible, to be disciplined, and to be engaged with other people and with my own goals. Culver has not only taught me content and subject matter, but also how to learn, how to study wisely, how to understand better, and how to help myself succeed by using school resources like the Writing Center and the library’s technology networks. Now, as I realize that it has all turned out to be real, I see that coming to Culver has made all the difference. I am not as I was three years ago; I am now motivated to work hard and to be responsible for my actions, my goals, my future.

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