Prompt: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
I am a mixture of ambition and passion. Throughout my life, I have been blessed with the world I come from, welcoming and comfortable. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." Having lived in a bubble for the majority of my life, I aspire to break free from my comfort zone to create a larger role for myself in the world.
In the summer of 2005, my parents took me to visit the village in Hainan that my grandfather had grown up in. There, amidst the soundtrack of village life which composed of scorching heat, abundant mosquitoes, salty sweat, and the chattering of locals, all my senses felt the poverty that lined the unpaved roads and the wrinkles on the villagers' faces. I felt as though I was transplanted to an entirely different world. As I studied the faces of my relatives, I switched on the "autofocus" function in my head. I was able to see them clearly for the first time-as mirror images of myself and my family.
To my chagrin, I felt disconnected from my family because I knew little to nothing about the way they lived or who they were. I witnessed children desperately pleading for means to their survival and people hard at work in conditions most Americans, including myself, would find unbearable. Despite this, my relatives ascribed to the saying, "less is more"; they were perfectly content with the lives they had, even if they did not have the conveniences of first world framework, such as plumbing or electricity. This trip to my "roots" reinforced in me the truth that I am both American and Chinese. Despite my unfamiliarity with this country, I knew this was also my world.
I was inspired by this trip to bridge the gap between these two worlds: the society I that progresses forward and the society that is considered backwards. I realize that although each distinct country has its own laws, cultures, and political views, these countries are all connected in the new world. I believe that I have been placed in the new generation, a generation that traces its lineage towards two directions, two cultures. I anticipate my role in extending that connection to define both the new generation and my identity.
As the years have gone by, my dreams have shifted from one to another. Ten years ago, I wanted to sell ice cream to all hungry children who were in need of a pick-me-up. Then, five years later, I wanted to sail across the sky in a giant hot air balloon and feed the needy, an idea inspired by a childhood cartoon. Now, I have new goals: to make a positive change in the two spheres I feel connected to, if not the entire planet. However, this is not a dream I can accomplish on my own. I will leave my mark on my world, but first, I must go to college.
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