Bao's weblog


Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

prompt 2

“Please have a seat. How are you? How did you arrive? Why do you want to become a citizen? Where’s the exit? What color is your hair?”

As I sit there, testing a student’s English with seemingly odd questions during the mock citizenship interview, I feel like the world is as picturesque as the cover of a birthday card. However, a different case sits in front of me, less than three feet away. Not all is well with the Earth as the young Asian mother sits before me preparing for a pivotal climax in her life: a quickly approaching citizenship examination. Any naive thoughts quickly dissipate. Suddenly, my world is no longer an ideal sanctuary as she begins to stumble on birthdates and nationalities. But, by helping someone prepare and afterwards watching her return in the end with success etched in her smile makes me proud of that person, and ultimately, of myself.

On the other hand, this shining sense of satisfaction is more difficult to find when you’re at a tutoring center, trying to teach a rowdy bunch of fifth graders how to do fractions. But it shouldn’t matter to me whether the students are talking about long division or the latest news in “American Idol” because that’s just part of growing up. The underlying sense of satisfaction there is watching them pass a math test or walk up to you and give you a hug for being there.

But the greatest achievements of all are when you finish the tasks you’re supposed to do. Every student that passes a math test and every student that walks back into the community room to say they’re now an American is a crowning achievement in my eyes. This is what makes me proud of them, and of myself.

I’ve always felt that so much effort and resources have been harvested and given to me and to so many others throughout the most important parts of our lives. An old and well known African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child in today’s society. I had chosen this UC because I believe that he faculty and student life is my ideal environment, and UC Davis my ideal village. But I’ve come to realize that I am no longer a child, I must give back to my community, and I do so through teaching and helping others.

Word count: 388


Filed under: General

2 Responses

  1. teriyakifan says:

    Community service =)

    Hm.. I was just wondering.. is it really a good idea to say that UC Davis is your dream school? Because you’re sending the essay to all of the UCs, so UCLA might be offended or something =P

  2. Bao Pham says:

    hahaha. well, I got two counters for that.

    1. UC Davis is the only UC I’m applying to.

    2. I changed that part anyways.

    thanks though =D

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