Seventeen years of living, ten different schools, eight different houses, and an infinite amount of life experiences have morphed me into the person I am today. I have always felt extremely lucky and grateful to have lived in many diverse places such as Mexico, Texas, New York, and Dubai, but it wasn’t until my freshman year in high school that I had finally found myself. Have you ever been to a place and knew that you were meant to be there, as if you finally belonged? It’s an unexplainable feeling, and I first experienced this rush in my school’s cooking club. I always knew I had loved to eat, but that year, I discovered that I loved to bake. Just like Julia Child, I was never really interested in anything until I discovered cooking. Cooking gave me opportunity. I was an artist when I was decorating a cake with a pastry bag. I was an engineer as I strategically structured food. I was a scientist when my foods reacted with each other. Although I never vehemently enjoyed chemistry, food had become my own scientific experiment. When I mixed individual food items, each element had its own flavor, but as I combined them proportionally, and they formed compounds that were bursting with new flavors, I found my passion. Throughout my adolescence, no matter where I lived, my sisters and I would buy Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes and bake together. It wasn’t only our bonding time, as I grew older I realized it was the founding reason that drove me towards the kitchen. I would find solace and salvation in the kitchen as I used my Kitchen Aid and oven to create something that fed my cravings. Whether I was encompassed with stressful school work, or overwhelmed by my duties and responsibilities of any teenager, baking had become my escape from turmoil and havoc. As the years went on, I became the president of cooking club, and during my senior year, I enrolled myself in BOCES, a vocational school, to pursue culinary arts. One day, as my mind was enamored with focus and determination to poach my chicken and get all of my ingredients ready to make a salad, I suddenly stopped everything and thought about how much I loved being there and how I could imagine myself doing this every day for the rest of my life. I may have lacked skills compared to many of my other peers, who were far advanced with job experience from various restaurants and bakeries, but I have the advantage that my passion and thrive for learning would help me succeed and excel because I am a fighter, and I won’t give up.