But then I remembered that birds had life, flesh, blood. Dare I say it out loud? Here, in my own home? Within seconds, my reflexes kicked in. Get over the shock.
Gloves, napkins, towels. How does one heal a bird? I rummaged through the house, keeping a wary eye on my cat. Donning yellow rubber gloves, I tentatively picked up the bird. Never mind the cat's hissing and protesting scratches, you need to save the bird. You need to ease its pain. But my mind was blank. I stroked the bird with a paper towel to clear away the blood, see the wound. The wings were crumpled, the feet mangled. A large gash extended close to its jugular rendering its breathing shallow, unsteady.
The rising and falling of its small breast slowed. Was the bird dying? No, please, not yet. Why was this feeling so familiar, so tangible? The long drive, the green hills, the white church, the funeral. The Chinese mass, the resounding amens, the flower arrangements.
Me, crying silently, huddled in the corner. The Hsieh family huddled around the casket. So many apologies. The body. Kari Hsieh. Still familiar, still tangible. Hugging Mrs. Hsieh, I was a ghost, a statue. My brain and my body competed. Emotion wrestled with fact. Kari was dead, I thought. But I could still save the bird.
My frantic actions heightened my senses, mobilized my spirit. Cupping the bird, I ran outside, hoping the cool air outdoors would suture every wound, cause the bird to miraculously fly away. Yet there lay the bird in my hands, still gasping, still dying. Bird, human, human, bird. What was the difference?
Both were the same. But couldn't I do something? Hold the bird longer, de-claw the cat? I wanted to go to my bedroom, confine myself to tears, replay my memories, never come out. The bird's warmth faded away. Its heartbeat slowed along with its breath. For a long time, I stared thoughtlessly at it, so still in my hands. Slowly, I dug a small hole in the black earth. As it disappeared under handfuls of dirt, my own heart grew stronger, my own breath more steady.
Kari has passed. But you are alive. I am alive. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me. Luckily, it was a BB gun. But to this day, my older brother Jonathan does not know who shot him. And I have finally promised myself to confess this eleven year old secret to him after I write this essay. The truth is, I was always jealous of my brother. Our grandparents, with whom we lived as children in Daegu, a rural city in South Korea, showered my brother with endless accolades: he was bright, athletic, and charismatic.
To me, Jon was just cocky. Deep down I knew I had to get the chip off my shoulder. That is, until March 11th, Once we situated ourselves, our captain blew the pinkie whistle and the war began. My friend Min-young and I hid behind a willow tree, eagerly awaiting our orders. To tip the tide of the war, I had to kill their captain. We infiltrated the enemy lines, narrowly dodging each attack. I quickly pulled my clueless friend back into the bush.
Hearing us, the alarmed captain turned around: It was my brother. Startled, the Captain and his generals abandoned their post. Vengeance replaced my wish for heroism and I took off after the fleeing perpetrator.
My eyes just gazed at the fleeing object; what should I do? I looked on as my shivering hand reached for the canister of BBs. The next second, I heard two shots followed by a cry. I opened my eyes just enough to see two village men carrying my brother away from the warning sign.
My brother and I did not talk about the incident. That night when my brother was gone I went to a local store and bought a piece of chocolate taffy, his favorite. Then, other things began to change. I even ate fishcakes, which he loved but I hated. Today, my brother is one of my closest friends. Every week I accompany him to Carlson Hospital where he receives treatment for his obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. And Grace, my fears relieved Twenty minutes have passed when the door abruptly opens.
I look up and I smile too. Bowing down to the porcelain god, I emptied the contents of my stomach. Foaming at the mouth, I was ready to pass out. Ten minutes prior, I had been eating dinner with my family at a Chinese restaurant, drinking chicken-feet soup.
My mom had specifically asked the waitress if there were peanuts in it, because when I was two we found out that I am deathly allergic to them. When the waitress replied no, I went for it. Suddenly I started scratching my neck, feeling the hives that had started to form.
I rushed to the restroom to throw up because my throat was itchy and I felt a weight on my chest. I was experiencing anaphylactic shock, which prevented me from taking anything but shallow breaths. I was fighting the one thing that is meant to protect me and keep me alive — my own body. All I knew was that I felt sick, and I was waiting for my mom to give me something to make it better. I thought my parents were superheroes; surely they would be able to make well again. But I became scared when I heard the fear in their voices as they rushed me to the ER.
After that incident, I began to fear. My enduring interest in animals and habitat loss led me to intern at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley over the summer, and it was there that I was lucky enough to meet those opossum joeys that defecated on my shoes whenever I picked them up forcing me to designate my favorite pair of shoes as animal hospital shoes, never to be worn elsewhere again.
It was there that a juvenile squirrel decided my finger looked fit to suckle, and that many an angry pigeon tried to peck off my hands.
And yet, when the internship ended, I found myself hesitant to leave. It was from the sense of responsibility that I developed while working with orphaned and injured wildlife.
After all, most of the animals are there because of us—the baby opossums and squirrels are there because we hit their mothers with our cars, raptors and coyotes end up there due to secondary rodenticide poisoning and illegal traps.
We are responsible for the damage, so I believe we are responsible for doing what we can to help. And of course, there is empathy—empathy for the animals who lost their mothers, their homes, their sight and smell, their ability to fly or swim.
These are not jobs that can be avoided or left half-finished. For some, the Arctic is simply too far away, and the oceans will always teem with life, while for others these problems seem too great to ever conquer.
And while I have had these same feelings many times over, I organized letter-writing campaigns, protested, and petitioned the oil companies to withdraw. I campaigned in local parks to educate people on sustaining the seas. I hold on to the hope that persistent efforts will prevent further damage.
I sometimes wonder if my preoccupation with social and environmental causes just makes me feel less guilty. I choose to act, taking a stand and exposing the truth in the most effective manner that I think is possible.
Kardashian updates? Nope: A Word A Day. Out of the collection of diverse words I received, one word stuck out to me in particular. Entoptic: relating to images that originate within the eye as opposed to from light entering the eye.
Examples of entoptic phenomena: floaters, thread-like fragments that appear to float in front of the eye but are caused by matter within the eye. Flustered, I was attempting to evolve my abilities to learn to see the invisible.
Between rubbing my eyes and squinting, I began to make out subtle specks in the air that drifted from place to place. I launched a thunderbolt straight through the air and declared a super-effective knockout. Of course, I never was able to explain what I was seeing to my bewildered friends that day in first grade. But after learning about entoptic phenomena, I realized that my entoptic adventure was not a hallucination but, in fact, one of my first intellectual milestones, when I was first able to connect meticulous observation of my environment to my imagination.
Two of their names are Larry and Kailan, and they are the top-ranked players in the Exynos League. Exynos is the name of the elaborate basketball league I have created in my imagination over the last ten years of playing basketball on the neighborhood court in the evenings. As I play, I envision Larry and Kailan right there with me: reaching, stealing, and blocking. Undoubtedly, I might look a little silly when I throw the ball backwards as if Larry blocked my layup attempt—but imagining competitors defending me drives me to be precise in my execution of different moves and maneuvers.
But I perceive perhaps the most vivid images through music, as I tell a different story with each piece I play on the violin. Denizens of this world are rumored to watch Netflix re-runs without WiFi and catch many a Pikachu via psychokinesis. I come from a long line of list-makers. It shows up on both sides of my family, so by the time this trait reached my generation, it hit a peak. My chronic list-making tendencies began in fourth grade when I begged for a white board and a set of Expo markers for Christmas.
I started creating daily color-coordinated to-do lists replete with little checkmark boxes, and fun facts for my family to enjoy—perhaps to compensate for the fact that my large white board reigned over the kitchen space. A list is the keeper of spontaneous expression. With every contraction of my brain, every output of overflowing postulations, every idea my imagination rapidly hurls at me, those thoughts that had been unconscious suddenly surface at the touch of pen to paper.
A thought, which is in so many ways intangible, is absolutely tangible on paper. And I like that thought—that our words can have resonance. Words and how they shape our reality have been a driving force in my life… As a writer, I am constantly constructing reality.
Writing on a page has a physicality: each word by itself could seem mundane and even unimaginative, but the way I choose to arrange them on the page makes them meaningful. Someone reads them, and now my words exist in the world as their own object. As a debater, I edit on paper, I write on paper, I read on paper. As an artist, I spin my words into portraits of people, landscapes of nature, even cartoons of fantastical polka dotted critters.
Words build bridges. They serve to connect the me I am—a tad disorganized, spontaneous, a little confused, and very overwhelmed—with the me I aspire to be. I can rely on them. Although the course of my life is most likely going to be transient, jumbled, and complex, covered in a tangle of corrections, with contradicting figures sprawled all over, lists will always keep me grounded. There is something wonderful about a physical pen with graceful ink in my control that a handwritten list can solely provide, and that I will not grow out of.
Lists go hand in hand with refreshing walks and a cup of hot chocolate in the morning: they are always there for me, to be read or put away or kept tucked away in a drawer or pocket—within reach. In that moment between thinking a thing and writing it down, a shift takes place.
When I was 6, I spent two months digging a hole in my backyard, ruining the grass lawn, determined to make a giant koi pond after watching a show on HGTV.
After watching Castaway when I was 7, I started a fire in my backyard--to my mother's horror--using bark and kindling like Tom Hanks did. I neglected chores and spent nights locked in my room drawing pictures and diagrams or learning rubik's cube algorithms while my mother yelled at me through the door to go to sleep.
I've always been compulsive about the things I set my mind to. The satisfaction of solving problems and executing my visions is all-consuming. But my obsessive personality has helped me solve other problems, too. When I was 8, I taught myself how to pick locks.
So I didn't eat at school for two weeks and saved up enough lunch money to buy a lockpicking set from Home Depot. After I wiggled the tension wrench into the keyhole and twisted it counterclockwise, I began manipulating the tumblers in the keyhole with the pick until I heard the satisfying click of the lock and entered the room.
Devouring his stash of Lemonheads was awesome, but not as gratifying as finally getting inside his room. As the projects I tackled got bigger, I had to be more resourceful.
One day in history class after reading about early American inventions, I decided to learn how to use a Spinning Jenny. For weeks, I brushed my two cats everyday until I had gathered enough fur. I washed and soaked it, carded it with paddle brushes to align the fibers, and then spun it into yarn, which I then used to crochet a clutch purse for my grandmother on mother's day. She still uses it to this day. In high school, my obsessive nature found a new outlet in art. Being a perfectionist, I often tore up my work in frustration at the slightest hint of imperfection.
As a result, I was slowly falling behind in my art class, so I had to seek out alternate solutions to actualize the ideas I had in my head. Often times that meant using mixed media or experimenting with unconventional materials like newspaper or cardboard. Eventually I went on to win several awards, showcased my art in numerous galleries and magazines, and became President of National Art Honors Society. After high school I began to work on more difficult projects and I channeled my creativity into a different form of art - programming.
I'm writing a program in Matlab that can measure visual acuity and determine what prescription glasses someone would need. I ultimately plan to turn this into a smartphone app to be released to the general public. The fact is that computer coding is in many ways similar to the talents and hobbies I enjoyed as a child--they all require finding creative ways to solve problems.
While my motivation to solve these problems might have been a childlike sense of satisfaction in creating new things, I have developed a new and profound sense of purpose and desire to put my problem solving skills to better our world.
My siblings and I were sitting at the dinner table giggling and spelling out words in our alphabet soup. The phone rang and my mother answered. It was my father; he was calling from prison in Oregon.
Fortunately, my father was bailed out of prison by a family friend in Yakima. Unfortunately, though, most of our life savings was spent on his bail. My father went from being a costurero sewing worker to being a water-filter salesman, mosaic tile maker, lemon deliverer, and butcher.
Money became an issue at home, so I started helping out more. Sundays and summertime were spent cleaning houses with my mother. I worked twice as hard in school. I helped clean my church, joined the choir, and tutored my younger sister in math. Slowly, life improved. Then I received some life-changing news. The lawyer had an idea: I had outstanding grades and recommendation letters. If we could show the judge the importance of my family remaining here to support my education, perhaps we had a chance.
So I testified. My father won his case and was granted residency. Testifying in court helped me grow as a person, has made me more open-minded and aware of the problems facing my community. And my involvement in the urban farm has led me to consider a career as a nutritionist.
Though neither of my parents attended college, they understand that college is a key factor to a bright future and therefore have been very supportive. And though we don't yet have the house with the small porch and the dog, we're still holding out hope. I believe college can help. Spanish Translation: Era el primer domingo de abril. Era mi padre. Mis padres se negaron a dejarme tener un trabajo "real. En domingos y en el verano limpiaba casas con mi madre.
Poco a poco, la vida mejoraba. Aunque ninguno de mis padres asistieron a la universidad, ellos entienden que la universidad es un factor clave para un futuro brillante, y por lo tanto, han sido un gran apoyo. Creo que la universidad puede ayudar. Regardless, I knew what was happening: my dad was being put under arrest for domestic abuse.
Living without a father meant money was tight, mom worked two jobs, and my brother and I took care of each other when she worked. For a brief period of time the quality of our lives slowly started to improve as our soon-to-be step-dad became an integral part of our family. He paid attention to the needs of my mom, my brother, and me. I cooked, Jose cleaned, I dressed Fernando, Jose put him to bed. We did what we had to do. As undocumented immigrants and with little to no family around us, we had to rely on each other.
Fearing that any disclosure of our status would risk deportation, we kept to ourselves when dealing with any financial and medical issues.
Uno was easy to teach and fun!
Before skipping, I was perennially bored. I came out of my American bubble and discovered I was someone to be looked up to. Although most of my friends and family did not understand my ambitions, I knew I wanted to make a difference and used their doubt as motivation to press through. I talked about my community every chance I got, writing a public backlash to Donald Trump and reading out to the group of parents to show them my unique struggle. Research spurred action.
I want to fight for social justice in the courtroom. I witness my parents be leaders everyday as they tackle cultural obstacles in a country that wasn't the one they were born into, speaking a language that is not their own, and raising children to succeed in a system of higher education; one they never had the privilege to be part of. As I think back to those sweltering, eclectic days, the stories and spiritual connections linger. I was spending most of my days understanding the why behind things, while also discovering solutions to prevalent issues. Engineering Personal Statement Engineering offers us the chance to make the world a better, safer and more exciting place; this is what attracts me to the subject. The election of Donald Trump has forced me to come to terms with the harsh realities of this world.
Reading the daily newspaper, the magazine, The Nation, and the Dune series of science fiction books, have further stoked my interest in the way governments gain and use power. To me, Jon was just cocky. Stating that you believe in integrity, for example, is an easy claim that's made by thousands of politicians and used car salespeople every year. As I've grown I've learned to fight my own monsters but I now also battle the ones that frighten my parents, the monsters of a world that they weren't born into. I learned to become a good role model by teaching my younger family members proper manners and guiding them in their academics so that they can do well. Although I worried about repercussions, I continued to translate and share important documents.
This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay. I became scared of death, eating, and even my own body. I've grown up living in section 8 housing because my parents often found themselves living paycheck to paycheck, not by choice, but by circumstance. Four days after I graduated high school, I joined the U. A glance at my notebook reveals a collection of worn pages covered with meticulously planned formations, counts, and movements.