When I was a toddler, I refused to wear any clothing with animals, characters or people on it because I was afraid it would hurt them to get sun in their eyes when I went outside. So I guess my concern and empathy for others is either innate or was taught to me early on, and has definitely contributed to why I do what I do every day and why I aspire to become who and what I aspire to become. I’m a big believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason, which I why I feel so lucky that my parents divorced in 1999 when I was 7. Because if they hadn’t, my dad may not have begun the ritual of my two little sisters and I reading the newspaper and making pancakes every other Sunday when we were with him. I became enthralled with knowing what was going on in the world and the politics behind it, and the compassion and empathy my parents say has always characterized me was now transferred to people truly deserving of it, even if we had never met. This interest in people facing hardship or injustice has only intensified since that time, and for some reason my interest in those living in poverty is strongest.
Last quarter I came to UCLA from a rather privileged community and good high school, at the same time a new friend of mine came to UCLA from a community college in one of the poorest cities in California. Seeing the way he struggles every day like millions of American and works harder than most people I’ve ever met and still may have to drop out of college because his family lives in poverty seems more than unfair. If I hadn’t found my passion for politics when I was younger I might have merely resided myself to a stance of sympathy without really wanting to find solutions for the problems he and others face in pursuit of educations and a better life. Yet because I have found my passion for politics and drive to make a difference through involvement with it, I know that I study what I study and work hard every day at it because I can and many who have been unable to make it to the university level cannot.
So that’s why I do what I do: because I have been born with such incredible privileges in my life that I feel obligated to give back to those who have not been as fortunate, and will not be able to reach a position to make education and a better life possible. I know that the work I put into my education will lead to a productive career in politics in which I can continue doing what I love to do: help those who cannot help themselves.