Here is my Stanford Essay… tell me what you guys think:
Wang Yu, guo lai, ni de qi yi ge ming zi! my aunt screamed at me from two rooms over.
My time had arrived. I ran into the room where everyone was waiting.
All of a sudden, the room erupted in a cacophony. Mandarin Chinese and heavily accented English filled the room. My cousins had just assumed the American identities, Kathy and William.
I stood there, too young to be wondering if I was going to assume a similar identity. Instead, like every other six year old, I was thinking about cartoons. G.I. Joe, Tom and Jerry and many generic Chinese cartoons were on the top of my head. However, instead of asking for Tom, Jerry or Joe, I asked for my favorite cartoon character, Rai ke, which was the English name Rick with a heavy Chinese accent. My auntie opened the English dictionary and searched for Rai ke. Not surprisingly, that was not to be found. So, my auntie started to look through the dictionary, searching for similar-sounding names.
After using the Chinese Ping Yin spelling and much searching through the dictionary for something with a ke or similar ending, my auntie read the name Lake. Since I was only six, I immediately became attracted to anything that was remotely related to what I wanted. My auntie, tired of looking through the dictionary, asked me if I would like to take Lake. I was thrilled to be named Lake. It was only a day later that I found the meaning of lake: a body of water, bigger than a pond, smaller than a sea.
On my first day of school, I was to realize that perhaps I should have made a different decision. Even though I didnt speak a word of English, Im sure that the kids definitely werent saying anything nice. After I learned a bit of English, I began to understand what they were saying. Remarks like Lake Tahoe or River or questions like Is your brother/sister river? haunted my elementary and middle school years. Even as I approached high school, people would make fun of my name.
As I grew older, I began to learn to cherish my name. I began to realize that Lake was much more than just a joke that kids made fun of. Lake represented all of the experiences of my family and I. Since the day I chose Lake, I saw my family go through a journey that would define my life.
I watched my father work 15 hour days and go from washing dishes for $4.50 an hour, to buying his own shop. I saw my family overcome language and cultural barriers, to go from living on top of a pizza store and living with the bare minimums, to finally, 10 years later, buying our own house. These 10 years made me realize that I should never take anything for granted. A lot of the things I do are fueled by my compassion for those that are going through this journey themselves. I am lucky to have gotten through this last 10 years with my family and I will never forget this experience.
Throughout all of my experiences, I would never give up Lake. Lake will always keep reminding me of my past and the things that I have gone through.