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Creative Corner: Edition #4

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The Tenacity of an Acorn

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When I was little, I used to curl into bed with my parents when I couldn’t sleep at night.

“Don’t worry, those are fireworks,” they used to say.

But even at the tender age of five, I knew that “fireworks” didn’t go off on a daily basis. 

A few weeks ago, I crawled into bed with my mother again (my dad works night shifts so his side of the bed is always empty). I didn’t hear “fireworks” or anything like that. No, fireworks nowadays go off in July like they’re supposed to. I crawled into bed with her because I was upset about a heated meeting I had earlier that day.

The financial aid counselor from my dream university suggested I take out thousands of dollars worth of parent loans so that I could be able to afford it. 

I declined their offer immediately.

My goal is to help my parents. Not put them into even more debt.

Mom gave me some tea and we talked, but she eventually fell asleep leaving me to my thoughts.

Some people go to school because they want to learn, but other people, like myself, don’t really have a choice. In this world, if you don’t have a degree, you’ll find yourself sleeping to the sound of police sirens and being engulfed by a cloud of secondhand cigarette smoke on a daily basis.

I used to feel pessimistic. We don’t live in a Dickensian novel, I would think. There will never be a ‘rags to riches’ twist in this household.

Then, one day, my English teacher gave our class a thought-provoking quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

I was in tears.

I know you’re probably wondering why such a simple quote would have such a major effect on me, but it was just so relevant and so true. Then, all of a sudden, a bunch of memories started to cascade in front of me.

When I won Peace-builder of the Year in the third grade. When I received Honor Society in the eighth grade. When I applied to my prestigious high school, Hawthorne Math and Science Academy. When Chapman University and UC Santa Cruz offered me admission.

They’re all baby steps to a bright future my parents have molded for me since day one.

Now it’s time I take a leap forward. I want to help them. I want to grow into a thousand forests.

I accepted UC Santa Cruz’s offer of admission.    

Behind everyone’s greatest achievements, are an endless list of stumbling blocks. HMSA taught me the value of diligence and persistence. And although my struggles are far from over, I don’t plan on giving up halfway because the journey seems too tough or anything like that.

My parents didn’t raise a mere acorn.

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Creative Corner: Edition #4