Essay Questions

What is your most memorable childhood experience?I most vividly remember taking accordion lessons and practicing every night after our family dinner. I started taking lessons when I was 4 years old. After I had gotten into a fight with a boy at kindergarten over a musical instrument, my parents bought me an accordion. I can still picture going to classes on the back of my mother’s bicycle and practicing in our living room with my accordion strapped on my shoulder, which felt so heavy at the time. I dreaded practicing at times just like every other child would, nonetheless, looking back now I loved that experience. It really sparked my interests in arts and music. My accordion carried some of my fondest memories as a child and I still keep it in my room today.
What immediate family member do you closely identify with and why?My mother is an extraordinary woman: smart, kind and hard-working. She worked her way up through advancements in education and a career in computer science, from a rural village in the far-east to the upper-middle class in the US. She never stops learning and, at 65 years of age, she reads everything constantly and is always curious about new technologies and discoveries. My mother and I are very close. For many years she has been my mentor and role model in many aspects. My mom raised me well, and I’m like her in many ways, including her good looks, luckily.
What character traits do you admire in an individual?Resilience, creativity and humility. I am a believer in the idea that the quality of life is largely determined by the overall quality of many, many small decisions we make throughout our days, months, and years. I respect those who are persistent in pursuit of longer-term goals, while having the humility and creativity in making good choices in life and being able to quickly recover from setbacks.
What is the funniest thing ever to happen to you?I used to hate running as a child and growing up, and now I’m an avid runner, in big marathons and as a daily routine. Funny how things can change on you. From a little child to my early 20s, I had always thought running was the most boring sport out there. Until one day on my first job, I was almost forced to participate in a company 5k running race. I felt okay afterwards, and I thought to myself, "Huh, I can do this." Slowly over the years, I started to enjoy it more and more as I run more regularly. Today, running is special to me because it allows me to carve out some private time from a busy schedule, reflect on important things in life, and keep me grounded. Recently I completed a major marathon together with a 100-mile bike race, quite challenging, yet a lot of fun.
If time and money were not an issue, where would you travel and why?Well, in that case, I would get myself a Jeep and visit all the famous national parks in the world. I have been to some good ones in the US, Yellowstone, Zion, Arches, Yosemite, etc. I have also seen some amazing pictures of glaciers and forests from all around the world. I’d love to visit them all. I have had a passion for nature and all things outdoors. Since I was a child, I am always amazed by astronomy shows on TV and in museums, and every time I look up to the stars on a clear sky. I guess I am a “serial explorer.”
When and if you ever have children, what would you like to pass on to them?If I ever have children, I would wish to pass on the pillars of contentment to help my children build the foundation for a happy life. Most importantly I hope they will have (and I could pass on to them) a lifetime of health and wellness. Physical fitness would be great, but is not the sole basis of being healthy; being healthy would also mean being mentally and emotionally fit. Having the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment that involves new priorities, cultures and people. I hope they would surround themselves with positive energy such as encouraging friends and people that will provide them with an optimistic outlook as well as constructive criticism every once in a while to help them improve. Also have enough resilience and joy in their life to override the inevitable setback or even heartbreak they will experience at some point. I would also teach them the basis of good manners, which starts with considering others, and treating people well. I would focus on these foundational values through a more active approach such as guiding by examples and telling family stories. I wish they could eventually find their own core values and passion in life that brings out the best in them.