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“Work hard and get a good job, so you can have a better life than your father and me.” My mother’s wise words play in my head like a broken record. Her endless endeavors have inspired me to strive for success-not only to follow through with my goals, but also to become stronger from each experience. My sister’s continuous effort has given me additional support in my desire to prevail over the barriers that lie ahead. On my pathway to success, I found how hard it was to satisfy my mother’s craving for the epitome of an exceptional student. Despite her criticisms and my fear of disappointing her, I persisted, sustained by the love which drove her expectations. My achievements have granted me prestige and self-confidence, as well as a sense of pride from my mother.
In Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, after my mother’s possessions and opportunities were taken from her, she vowed to give her children an education. She pushed me to become an ideal daughter. School was my priority: it was where I had to excel in order to prove myself to the world. Anything not school-related was looked down upon. Through countless hours and sleepless nights, I wanted to attain excellence. However, it seemed hopeless as I tried to satisfy my mother’s boundless outlooks for my future. Her advice which sometimes turned into insensitive critiques troubled me: I felt like nothing I did was good enough. I did not realize at the time that she was trying to prepare me for the harsh reality. She wanted me to grow into a lion; sharp, clever, and strong.
Distressed over my mother’s judgments, the L.A. Community Club offered me consolation. Our club director, Daniel Jocz, said, “Your community is part of you and influences your perception of life.” Fulfilling the club’s objective, I documented and filmed the history of Chinatown, discovering in the process that many immigrants, like my mother, were just as critical of their children. Revolution and political exile empowered them to give their children what no one could take: knowledge. Their tough experiences shape their motivation for their children to succeed. Understanding my mother’s struggles has made me realize that her hardships are part of me. Her bitter experiences strengthen my passion to succeed and I want to compensate her for the support she has given me.
My mother lived vicariously through my sister, until she became pregnant and decided to leave college, shattering our hopes. A single mother, she returned to school and became a Respiratory Therapist. My sister faced far more criticism from my mother than I ever did. This gave me hope that I could survive the criticism. Her classic story of initial failure turned into a real success reinforces my desire to excel. Watching my sister’s diligence and dedication in raising her son, has shown me that my mother only want the same advantages for me. As Waverly Jong of The Joy Luck Club did, I realize that my mother only criticizes me out of love and hope. I want to prove to her and myself that I have the drive to make it in the competitive world of business.
My mother’s desires for me to blossom into a prosperous woman have made me who I am today: a strong-minded person full of perseverance. I am determined to fulfill my objective and my mother’s visions for my future, and become an important part of the business world. I know that this venture will complete both my mother and my own aspirations. I cherish the legacy she bestowed on me and I want to pass it on.
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