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In high school, college is often made to seem like an end-all, be-all experience – the pinnacle of one’s life. I know that is not true. In college we prepare for life beyond it, in my case for a lifetime of global citizenship.
I was born in China and did not arrive to the United States until I was five years old. My parents emigrated to America because they were offered graduate school assistantships at the University of Georgia. At that time, only a few students allowed to leave China for certain periods but thousands were applying, so it was an extremely rare and hard-sought opportunity for them. They were allowed to leave to continue their education, so from a very young age, I was taught that education can take me anywhere while ignorance will lead me nowhere. I have kept those teachings in my heart as I adjusted to American life, new schools, and new friends. Looking back, I can confidently say that I feel successful in my endeavors thus far because everywhere I have gone, I have tried to learn as much as possible.
In my eighteen years of life, it’s been hard for me to turn down opportunities so I feel that I’ve taken advantage of all the opportunities that I have been given. My high school is a small, private school that I attend on scholarship. Although I was a new student in 9th grade and almost everyone else knew each other already, I quickly rose to the top of the class and will graduate as the valedictorian. I have also volunteered for many years, working on poverty and disease issues in my town and around the world. This summer I hope to travel to Africa to build schoolhouses for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in communities devastated by disease and poverty. I care about these issues not because I live in poverty or with a deadly disease, but because I have learned of them and understand their implications in the modern world. That knowledge has expanded my realm of compassion, service, and understanding.
Life doesn’t stop after college. I plan to double major in biology and economics as an undergraduate at Harvard University, then pursue a Ph.D. in economics. My education will give me the background to continue my efforts to promote public health worldwide. Without postsecondary education, I would not be able to reach my full potential for improving the lives of others as an exemplary global citizen.
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