Recipe for Me

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“Today,” the theatre arts teacher began, “you will create a recipe for yourself, listing things about you in specific quantities as your ingredients, like ‘2 cups of smiles’ for example. At least five ingredients must be used, and you must list them on a poster that you’ll decorate, which you will present to the class. This ‘Recipe for Me’ project will help your classmates and me get to know you better and will allow you to work on your presentation skills. The project is due this Friday, but you have today and tomorrow to work on it in class. If you don’t finish, it becomes homework. So, begin!” she exclaimed to the class, full of twelve year olds who would soon spend the entire period trying to come up with the perfect five ingredient combinations that would accurately portray them; I was one of those twelve year olds.
To this day, I still have trouble immediately answering the question, “What makes me, well, me?” Is it my curiosity? Stubbornness, perhaps? An excellent sense of humor? Or even intellectual oomph? Maybe it’s a little of everything under the sun? Well, just as the “Recipe for Me” project served to give my teacher and classmates a sense of who I was, this essay will give my readers a sense of who I am today.
My parents came to America from Vietnam during the war, had to leave their home to start life anew in a country whose language they could barely understand. The academic success that they achieved in Vietnam could open few doors for them in the U.S., but they know that it will be different for me, one who will probably never move to another country, much less another state. Because my doing well in school is so important to my parents, it is, in turn, important to me. I believe my desire to achieve academic success to have been inborn as well as the result of my parents’ encouragement. They’ve always expected me to do my best, and I’ve always been one to please them, perhaps rendering my academic success to be a self fulfilled prophecy. Well, self fulfilled prophecy or not, I do love to learn and have a strong work ethic, the latter of which I attribute to the determination and diligence my parents have put forth to give me the comfortable life that I have as well as the chance to go to a reputable university. I wish neither my parents’ efforts nor the opportunities that I am offered to go to waste, and knowing how important academic success is in this world, especially for an aspiring physician, I have vowed to always make the most of my educational opportunities, no matter where I may find them, be they in the forms of classroom experiences, internships, or even events in my daily life. Naturally, Rice would be no exception.

Of course, with yin, one has to have yang. There definitely is a fun¬ loving side to my personality, and that side makes an appearance when I’m with my friends. I work hard, and I deserve to play hard. Nonetheless, I am not the kind of girl who would enter a bar or a nightclub. My idea of pleasure is not comparable to a wildfire in the West but rather, the blue fire of a distant star. I would love to attend a musical or listen to a symphony orchestra after having dinner with friends on a Friday or Saturday night (I took piano lessons as a child and have loved music ever since). To eat with friends is, in my opinion, one of the greatest pleasures that life can offer; I have never been one to resist a stimulating conversation and contagious laughter over a delicious meal. Furthermore, I have a passion and knack for writing poetry, which has been a hobby of mine since middle school, and in college, I do see myself still churning out poems, which I hope to offer to its literary magazines. Perhaps that poem might be a Dante esque piece in terza rima, written one spring morning while sitting underneath a large oak or perhaps a free verse poem during an autumn evening….O, the possibilities! While my pleasures are simple and could possibly belong to another century, I do find them quite satisfying, as I hope to find my college years….
A longing to learn a little of everything, two cups…the strength to succeed, one pound…a liking for laughter, a dash…a fondness for friends, three tablespoons…a penchant for poetry, a pinch…and a love of life, one quart….With such ingredients, this “Recipe for Me” would give you a fun loving, hard working, liberal arts education seeking seventeen year old, a girl who certainly has a different blend of qualities to offer to Rice, a place that she would more than happily call her second home.





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