This was an essay question I answered for a scholarship. I enjoyed my answer so I put it here. =)
Essay question: "What does being productive mean to you?" (provide examples of how you have
been productive and the effect it had on your life)
Productive. If you asked me last year what this meant, I would explain how it is a description of a personality, a characteristic trait one possesses. But productivity has changed its meaning in the last year or so to me, ever since I entered my first year of college. Within the realm of society in the US, we can walk on nicely paved sidewalks, drink free filtered water, and wear comfortable clothes in easily adjustable indoor climates, and to be productive is to be useful for your own future and expect rewards for your positive results. “Productive” is the cause, and your dream coming true is the effect. And to be frank, there is nothing wrong with this mindset; even I lived with this reward system throughout my 13 years of schooling before college.
It was not the new academic setting that has changed my way of thinking; it was my work study position as a Social Justice Coordinator. Over my first year of college, I arranged three Justice Immersion Trips: to the eye opening event of twisted Governmental systems at the School of the Americas Protest in Georgia, to the core of Immigration issues on the US/Mexico Border in El Paso, and to the faces of those suffering from Homelessness in Denver. I have been a witness, victim, and leader of productivity and the lack of it. In fighting for Social Justice, there is no room for zero productivity. There is no time, space, or money in this world for slacking off, for procrastination. If there is one person in your organization that is not productive- lives are lost, homes are destroyed, families are separated.
So my definition is not what the comforts of America has brought to me, or what the school books in my own college has taught me, it is from the face of a homeless man in Denver, and the eyes of an immigrant farmer, and the mother of a disappeared child in Venezuela has hardened in me. Injustice is the cause, and to be productive in counteracting this should be the effect. And further, to be productive is not for your own future, but it is for their future, and for the future of generations to come into this world. It is not for your own dreams; it’s for those people who have lost the ability to dream. It is said in a dictionary that “productive” is an adjective. And I am going to say that this is false; in that productive is an action. It is an action that our future is dependent on. To be productive, is to be allowing everyone access to nicely paved sidewalks, drinking free filtered water, and wearing comfortable clothes in easily adjustable indoor climates. And I am being as productive as I can every single day.