March 6, 2010
When I was young, my father once said to me, “To succeed you must find something that would inspire you; do not expect success to come toward you.” My mind, still naïve and curious, held my father’s message as sacred and irrevocable. These words had such an impact, that it created a thin structure of simple ideas that would later become a set of standards for myself to follow.

Throughout my childhood, my mother lamented her lack of education because it had limited her choices in life. When she first immigrated to the United States, she worked as a chef in a restaurant called Pink Lotus. With relentless energy and fiery passion, she finally became the manager of this restaurant and continued to build up its foundation to create a friendly aura and trustworthy service. When I was as young as ten years old, I “worked” at her restaurant every Saturday. From posting pictures on the walls and keeping customers company, I thought of myself as a valued employee. When I was not accompanying my mother to work, I was sent straight to my room to finish homework because “school was more important than superheroes on television.”

When I was a child, I considered success from winning a game at chess to getting all A’s on my report card. Later on, I realized success was more than just academics; it was about your overall satisfaction of life, including the failures that were ingrained into it. It was about your influences on others and how you have changed not just yourself, but the impact you left on family, friends, and the community. True success is being genuinely happy with your achievements and accepting your weaknesses as another challenge to overcome.

I have been studying rigorously in high school because I wanted to maintain a grade point average that would rank me 35th in my school. I consider an open mind as a key to success so I became a member of Art Club during my sophomore year, and I am now currently in both Chinese Cultural Society Club and Society of Female Scholars. During my senior year, I will take Advance Placement Psychology to get ahead in my career as a clinical psychologist. My personal success would be attending the University of Arizona until I gain my doctorates in Psychology. Although education has shaped my mind, charity defined my life.

In 2008, I was asked to participate in a small project called Friendly House by my Foreign Language teacher, Mrs. Kimzin. The goal was to raise enough money to buy Christmas presents for infants and young children. A small group and I collected money from our Foreign Language class. Though it was a small amount, we used the money to buy as many dolls and trinkets we could afford. My fellow students and I spent time after school to go to a daycare center to hand out gifts and play with the children. A few years back, a canned food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank was held at DS Middle School. My two younger sisters and I collected cans all around our neighborhood for almost two weeks before the food drive was over. We had managed to donate over 600 cans and won a gift certificate for our efforts. These events were defining moments in my young life because even though I couldn’t help the whole world, I helped a little part of it. I was not forced to help in my mother’s restaurant, partake in a toy drive, or even donate food to strangers; but I truly wanted to make a difference, no matter how much work I had to put into it. Knowing I had become closer to my mother, raised money for a child‘s Christmas, and given unfortunate families a Thanksgiving Day to be proud of, was a personal triumph.

Even though I was instructed to be studious, no one had enforced this ideal into me. I motivated myself to learn, to be curious, to maximize my strengths, and to improve my weaknesses. Giving to humane causes, however, created a belief that the world can be truly beautiful if one had an open heart. I managed to inspire myself to always do better, to give to my community and beyond; to succeed in my life because I realized no one could create success for me. My father once said to me, “To succeed you must find something that would inspire you.” I may be young, and may not know everything, but I know I am dedicated to improving humanity, no matter how big or small of a step it takes.

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