Sunday, Sep 23rd

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Personal Statement 2

Nhi Le

Attempt #1 (Honest answer):

Strangely enough, my dreams and aspirations were formed as a mixture of pressure, stress, and fear of disappointment.

True to their stereotypes, Asian parents have high expectations for their children and I was not an exception. Sometimes, I find myself wondering whether I’m grateful for my parents’ demanding nature or I’m about to combust one of these days as a result of my building pressure.

As a result of my parent’s high expectations and constant demands of excellence, I learned how to work under pressure. I catch myself scoring higher and doing better when I cram or when the time limit is pressuring me. My concentration slips if no pressure is holding it in place. Studying is difficult to me. Sitting down in a quiet area with my textbooks, and looking over the materials as I attempt to review three days prior to my test, is tedious. Of course I want a high grade on my test, but my mentality keeps asking me ‘Why bother?’ Without pressure means no motivation, and no motivation means I would probably not even attempt to work my way up to where I am today.

As a complementary product to my pressure gauge and fear of disappointment, stress also plays a part in shaping my aspiration. I hate stress. I want to rid my life and make it free of stress as soon as possible, and with that mentality, I find myself working harder to relieve that stress. However, as a result of working harder, my stress levels only rises which makes me push myself even more until I reach the point of self satisfaction and my stress melts away. Once I overcome my stress, I feel much more refresh and more confident, which in return allows the cycle of pressure, fear, and stress to start up again.

I hate disappointing people; not just my parents, but everyone in general. But disappointment from my parents is always the worst kind because they are my parents. My dreams and aspirations are molded around my parents’ desire for what is best for me and my own desire to succeed. I know they want the best for me and I know they work hard to provide me with food, shelter, and education, but anything and everything I do aside from studying or community service seems to disappoint them. I use their disappointment as a motivation to push and pull myself further as I try to prove to them that I can do better. I can’t stand to see the disappointed look on their faces when I come up short of their expectations, so I strive to surpass that line even if it’s just by the bare minimum.

Ironically, instead of a world filled with encouragement and inspiration, I find myself stuck in a pit of pressure, stress, and fear. Of course, I need to make use of what I have available, which happens to be those three things, in order to climb out as quickly as possible.

Attempt #2

(Not entirely sure what this has to do with my dreams and aspirations. Ms.Forteamo just said to write about art.):

I was seven years old when my dad sat me on his lap as he laid out a blank sheet of paper and a pencil before us.

Earlier that day, my second grade teacher assigned each student an animal report. I chose the leopard because it was my favorite animal at the time and I remember coming home excitedly, pestering my mom to take me to the library to look for books. Resources gathered, I hurriedly sat down and started writing the written portion of my paper. As I continue to finish up the written portion, I realized that I had to draw a picture to go along with my report. I kept trying relentlessly to draw the leopard, but I was seven and unless I was an art prodigy, I couldn’t do it. My father came home and peaked over my shoulder as I continue to draw strange disproportionate leopards. That was when he chuckled and placed me onto his lap.

At first my dad drew a bunch of shapes, circles and triangles and irregular boxes, which only confused me at the time but I watched carefully as he keeps on drawing. “This is boring. That’s not a leopard,” I told him, but he smiled and shook his head, telling me gently to be patient. After the shapes came the firm lines and after the firm lines came the details. Slowly but surely, a leopard appeared onto the blank sheet of paper, and I watched in awe as he darken the lines and shaded the shadows. I observed each and every pencil stroke carefully. Before that day, I’ve never seen anyone actually draw aside from my friend’s messy scribbles and my own crooked lines. It was the first time I’ve seen someone draw something so well because I never knew people can actually draw. I was seven, I never really thought about who drew the cartoons on television or who drew the pictures in my coloring book, so seeing my own dad draw a realistic leopard was really impressive.

As a direct result, I started drawing more often from then on. At first, my drawings were simple doodles with no intentions of improving or moving on from simple shapes, but as time passes I began to appreciate art. I start to critique myself and I improved with every picture I drew.

Now, I use my art as a means to communicate. When words fail to speak for me, I allow my art to talk. One take at my art and a stranger can read about what kind of person I am from my interest in different fashion styles down to how I usually act without having to actually meet me. Just from that simple moment from when I was seven, I was inspired to speak through my art and learn as a visual learner.

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