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Every spring my parents and I travel to a quiet temple in Fremont, California to pay respects to my ancestors. As I place an offering of bright wildflowers on the altar, I clasp my hands for a blessing prayer. Yet, instead of wishing for a blissful year, I contemplate on how my parents' stories have always given me lasting motivation and essentially, a path around life's obstacles and to the passions I live for today.
"All I want is for you to be able to stand on your two feet," said my father. He was telling a story about the hardships of growing up in Nepal. His empowering determination as he spoke about escaping army enlistment and poverty to traverse to America resonated in my mind. I thought about how he started humbly with nothing but still had high expectations and struggled for a home in America. I realized that I have always been fortunate and should cherish my good life, but more importantly, his determination showed me that every life brims with possibility. By seizing the opportunities that come my way, I would find myself always moving forward. With this thought, I decided to take advantage of the informational section on diseases in the library. My father fell victim to debilitating diabetes before I was born and I always felt clueless about his condition until I leafed through the many medical books in the public library. As I discovered the afflictions of diabetes and how heart disorders and neuropathy can easily follow, I came to understand my father more and recognized my passion to become a doctor. I realized this is my path towards helping, giving care and making a difference in someone's life.
My mother always told me, "As long as you have the will to pursue your dream, you will go anywhere. " She had escaped from the Vietnam War to America as a monk. I stared in awe at my bald mother in old snapshots and wondered what kind of perseverance it took to survive such a tumultuous age. I did not understand before, but the more aware I became of her struggle to single-handedly support our family with her two jobs, the more I realized that all it took was a purpose and a will to succeed, like she had told me. My mother knew exactly what she was working for when she escaped the war. Each day she spends handling two jobs is to keep the life in America she has built. Her struggles inspired me to never see quitting as an option and to always focus on my dreams and goals. I especially recalled this inspiration and her advice when I failed to enter science honors. I felt like I had failed academically but I did not let the setback faze me from pursuing more knowledge in science. I signed up for an advanced placement science course outside of school and despite the difficult material, I persevered with the desire to learn more. By immersing myself with numerous science handbooks and going through problems and labs carefully, I discovered how exciting solving science could be. I found the means to better study habits and confidence in performing and comprehending lab work. Like my mother, my goal of understanding science brought me to develop perseverance and a love of science.
Returning to my prayer, I have to take a stand like my father did and find my own paths to solve my problems and reach for my dreams. My parents' triumphs had planted the roots of my aspirations and their stories reminded me that people everywhere suffer worse hardships than I have. If I simply gave up, how would I ever spread care in my community as a doctor and become an inspiration, like my parents, to others? With my
parents as my motivation, I look at situations in a new light and realize how improving takes action. I have to use my own hands to do whatever it takes to move forward. I find myself striving for ways to improve and to test my limits despite the odds. As the prayer finally ends, I feel a surge of self-confidence. I quietly thank my ancestors and my parents for all their support. To this day, I always stand on my own two feet and hold onto my dreams to be a doctor and an inspiration.