For my aunt, intelligence is: “To have an intellectual under- standing of things. It can also be to succeed without education.” She was living in the Dominican Republic and studied there. Never went to college, though. Later on in life, my aunt decided to move to the United States because she wanted a better life. Struggling through hard jobs and low wages, she decided to quit and use her talent, which is baking -- making cakes and other desserts and selling them to get money. She succeeded. Almost any Hispanic in Boston was her client. She didn’t attend college, but is she smart? Street smart is when you have common sense. When you look at something from another perspective, as if you have another mind. You can answer questions without consulting a book. My dad was born in the Dominican Republic, in Bani. His family was poor. My dad did farm work. They had a couple of cows and they sold the milk. Sometimes he missed school because he had to wake up early to go to work to get money for the family. My dad was tired of working hard like a mule and getting nothing. He decided to finish school and graduated from college with an engineering degree. My dad came to the United States thinking he was going to live a good life here. He cleaned toilets and offices because they did not accept his college diploma since it was from another country. He got tired and went back to the DR and made his own busi- ness -- an electronics store -- and was making way more money than he expected. He succeeded. Is he smart?
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In my opinion, everyone is intelligent. Intelligence doesn’t mean knowing everything; it means knowing something. Not everybody can score an A in their classes, or understand a book, or even know how to cook. However, that doesn’t mean that they cannot play soccer or even write a good story. President Barack Obama is a very smart man. I have never seen someone who can give such an effective speech. Still, I’d like to see him play FIFA 13 against me on Playstation 3. One day, after receiving a high honors diploma, I met an illiterate man, a friend of my parents. “Good job” the man said. “I know that you are very smart. However, I have two questions for you. One is a mathematical problem, and the other one you must think about many times before you answer.” It didn’t take me more than two minutes to figure out the math problem. However, I couldn’t find an answer to the other question, which was: How would a mute man ask a blind and deaf man for a cigarette? Everyone has intelligence. No matter the situation, there is always someone who can figure out the solution. And this person can be a president, a professional, a student, or even an illiterate.
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Intelligence is defined as general cognitive problem-solving skills. A mental ability involved in reasoning, perceiving relation- ships and analogies, calculating, learning quickly. It is also taking advantage of all the opportunities that are given to you. When I moved to the United States from El Salvador, in 2009, I was constantly thinking about “The American Dream” -- even though I didn’t have any idea what it really was about it. My family and I moved here to have a better life, more chances for success. I knew that I was going to a new country, with new people and a different culture, language, and traditions. The best way to show intelligence was to adapt to a new environment. I knew that language was going to be my biggest problem. I decided to work really hard in class, watch TV in English, and stay after school to receive extra help. That was a smart decision. Instead of focusing on learning English, I could have done something else. Play video games or watch TV in Spanish. Now, I’m writing in English to define the word intelligence, and, hopefully, after you read this essay, you are going to have a good perspective about it. Intelligence is reflected when you make a decision and you have positive consequences.
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One day, the TV wasn’t working. We were all trying to figure out a solution. Suddenly, my oldest brother said, “Wait a minute.” He took the remote control and pressed the button that says “info” and saw that the video was not connected. He looked at the back of the TV to see if all the plugs were in. Then he realized that they were not all in the right place. He fixed them and finally the TV worked. Is he intelligent? Another day, it was cold. My four-year-old brother was playing and got stuck under the bed. My mother was in a panic. My father wasn’t home. My oldest brother went to my father’s tools and brought out a drill. He loosened the bed and freed my little brother. Is he intelligent? My oldest brother always thinks outside the box when he is challenged. He impresses me with the way he thinks. He is intelligent.
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Going to Senegal last summer with other high school students in the buildOn program to help construct a school taught me the fundamentals of life and being a voice for those who lack it -- and for giving back to my generous community when possible. It also gave me an opportunity to put myself in the position of less fortunate people. It made me even more appreciative of life; while I’m being ungrateful, others have no luck at all. I can be complaining about not having a certain pair of shoes while an individual in another country may have nothing to eat. Through this program, I was able to further learn more about myself -- my strengths, aspirations, abilities, and willingness to give to my community. This has led me to a fascinating career possibility: anthropology. This is the study of all human culture, and it would give me the chance to travel and write, a combination of the main things I enjoy. While in Senegal, I had the chance to experience the villagers’ daily-life routines, their culture, and their positive mental attitudes. Through the study of anthropology, I want to gain more knowledge about other cultures so that I have a better understanding of my own surroundings. I hope to study diverse topics such as tribes, languages, religions, and art. I remember that while there we would write down our thoughts and observations. I have always had a strong love for writing because from it I am able to express my feelings on issues that I am connected to. Writing brings awareness. Traveling is also an important aspect of life because it provides us with opportunities to be educated about other societies. Through being an anthropologist, I want to create change by traveling and writing. The more I write about different ways of life, the more others are informed and may be willing to give a helping hand.
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