This is for transfer admissions to Mary Baldwin College. The essay is optional, but I decided to write one. PLEASE BE BRUTAL!!! It'd be nice to have as much input as possible.
As a child and adolescent, I never understood how much influence one's passion for something had one one's life. When I was six years old, I was brought to my first violin lesson. I hated it. After discovering my talent as a violinist, I was pushed to practice every day. I was six. No six year old could survive that kind of pressure. After a month, I yelled and screamed that I wanted to quit. My parents let me. A year later, after seeing that the cool kids in our circle (of American Born Chinese children) were playing violin, I told my parents that I wanted to play again.
As a violinist, I was always on top. I was the type that never needed to practice more than half an hour a day, nor did I want to. My talent progressed me speedily from one level to the next. I practiced memorized pieces for competitions while reading novels which that had grasped more of my attention that practicing did. My parents had always put in my head that after I graduated from high school, I would go to a music school and continue on to be a famous violinist. I had always believed it too, up until my sophomore year of high school.
There was a boy, a freshman, by the name of Alec Lindsay. I had known him for awhile. In the small city of Anchorage, Alaska, the community of violinists was a pretty small one, so it was hard not to know the local competitors. Alec Lindsay was one of them. He is known in Anchorage to be one of the greatest technically advanced young violinists, but anyone could see that he lacked talent. Yet, he continued to practice four hours a day, willingly, and managed to pull off some of most difficult pieces that have existed in this world. He later transferred to a secondary boarding school, Interlochen Arts Academy, one of the most prestigious secondary schools of performing arts, where he continued to progress as a violinist. What I saw in him was a passion for the violin that I'd never had the entire 10 years I had been playing.
After such realization, I was stuck between not knowing where my passion was and my fear that I would crush my parents' dream of me becoming a famous violinist. For the rest of sophomore year and the beginning of junior year, my life took a huge downturn. I lost my focus and will to learn from the stress and my GPA went from a B average to a D average. My future to me was looking hopeless. I made as many excuses as I could to stay home from school and stay in bed.
At the end of the first semester junior year, my older sister had gotten married and moved out of our house to an apartment close to our high school school. My younger sister and I spent every Monday at her apartment. At that time, a girl about my age, who I'd known as Lin Lin, had been kicked out of her house and my older sister had taken her in. Lin Lin introduced me to my first Taiwanese drama, which is like a prolonged movie split into 1 hour episodes aired each week, eventually ending at 10-20 episodes. Taiwanese dramas were spoken in Mandarin and always had Chinese subtitles on the bottom. My discovery of dramas led to the discovery of my passion.
The dramas captured my interest immediately and I spent the entire day, almost every day, watching them. This interest hurt me and helped me simultaneously. My parents were even more furious at my high school scores than before, because I had been watching dramas instead of doing homework. However, after having this hobby for roughly three months, we all discovered something incredible. My language skills in Mandarin had improved over 4 times my proficiency had been before as proved by a proficiency test at my Chinese school. My Chinese vocabulary more than quadrupled. I could also read and write Chinese by reading the subtitles while I watched the dramas. Before the dramas, I wasn't able to read and write Chinese at all. My Chinese language skills were progressing rapidly, but it not stop there.
After watching Taiwanese dramas, I decided to explore more dramas and stumbled upon a Japanese remake of a Taiwanese drama I'd seen. It was the beginning of my exposure to the Japanese language and culture and my language skills developed almost as rapidly as I did in Chinese. Just by watching Japanese shows and dramas, I was able to speak and understand basic Japanese sentences and expressions. I began to take Japanese lessons and according to my first Japanese teacher, Yuki-sensei, I was one of her number one pupils.
My new found passion for the two languages and cultures gave me courage to confess to my parents that I didn't want to go to music school and wanted to become an interpreter, aiming to become one for the United Nations. When they recognized my talent in learning languages, they approved my decision and decided to support me. After receiving their support, I again found a new will to learn and became more engaged in school.
Around that time, my sister had been accepted in the PEG program at Mary Baldwin. I decided to drop out of high school to pursue a GED to start college early myself. Many unexpected and unfortunate events happened during these past few years of college, trying to delay my path to success, but they won't stop me from reaching it. My passion wouldn't allow it to happen. My passion also influenced my decision to apply to Mary Baldwin to pursue a better and well rounded education in order to reach my goal.
My passion for Chinese and Japanese languages and cultures still have not changed, and neither has my goal of becoming an interpreter for the U.N. I have also set a few goals for myself along the way to my path to success, for example, my decision to go to Japan or Taiwan after graduation from college to teach English for a few years to indulge in their cultures and improve my language skills. As for violin, I didn't end up giving it up. I still pick it up every other day and try to learn new pieces. I even plan to graduate with a music minor in college. Though I've had many regrets in my life, not once did I regret meeting Alec Lindsay and Lin Lin, who had helped me find my passion. Finding my passion has turned my life around and has taken it into a positive direction.