Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story
"Dad, please go to sleep earlier."
This was what I said most often to my father growing up. My father came from a small town in China that did not catch up with the developmental pace of many other big cities due to its isolated location. The only man who received college education in his village, he also became the only businessman in his family. Growing up as the daughter of a busy merchant, I thought my father's hard work was the result of wanting to make as much money as possible, owing to his poor origins. Continuous business phone calls, hefty stacks of design papers, and fully packed suitcases - these were signs my father's company was functioning normally.
The influence of my father drove me to create an online store on Taobao, China's biggest e-commerce website. My passion for music arrangement undoubtedly helped me to make the choice to sell music. Therefore, in the spring of 2014, I displayed my original piano compositions and re-arranged music scores as my store's main products. Clicking on the "upload" button for my music sheet and typing the description for "Sherlock Medley," I couldn't stop imagining becoming the top seller of the month.
I ran my store successfully for some time-requests for music from the "Godfather" to the Eagles filled my inbox constantly. But gradually, I began to feel empty. Even my customers' text messages, the increase in revenue, and the growing number of page views seemed boring to me now. Where was the excitement that I should gain after selling so many products? I knew something was missing, but I didn't know exactly what.
A new year came around, and I went back to my hometown with my family during Spring Festival. On the way to the village, I took out my flashlight and prepared to use it later. A lack of street lights was always a big issue in the village-you had to be very careful when you went out at night, otherwise it was easy to miss a step and fall onto the cornfield nearby.
''I won't stop you from taking the flashlight out, but I promise it is going to be useless starting this year," my dad said, laughing.
Useless? I ignored my father and continued to put on the flashlight battery. A mile away from my village, I looked out the window and was shocked by what I saw-streets neatly lined with lampposts as far as I could see.
Suddenly, two things were simultaneously turned on. One was the street light. The other was the realization that the goal of starting a business is helping others and not only making money. I realized that this is exactly what my father was doing the past 30 years-working hard to build lights for his village.
This understanding led my business to a new direction.
I used my music store profits to buy eight ukuleles and brought them to a Shenzhen orphanage center. I offered to teach Yue, a 7 year old girl in the orphanage, a song. Her hands were so small that she couldn't even hold the fretboard properly, but she still tried to follow my instructions step by step and looked at me with her dewy eyes, hoping to gain my approval: "C-C-G-G-A-A-G..." This melody echoed in the room for the whole afternoon. I experienced satisfaction, happiness and a sense of accomplishment through this simple "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," through seeing people benefit from my business and imagining the long-term impact on their futures-to me, these are the fundamental goals of business.
Looking at Yue's attentive face, I hoped that the little stars could always twinkle in her heart and light up her future, just like the street lights that illuminate the way for villagers in my hometown.