I learned to take responsibility for myself and my family earlier than most teenagers should. When I was younger, my parents allowed me anything I asked for as long as I kept my grades up in school. However, when I started my sophomore year in high school, my dad’s health prevented him from continuing to work and we no longer had a source of income. I never valued the materials we were able to afford before. Now, everything I can purchase I am grateful for. I have learned to resist the things I can live without and worry more about necessities like money for gas, food, and clothing. I have to do the things I do because I don’t have a choice. I am, unlike the stereo type, a lower middle class Asian American.
Unlike some of my more privileged classmates, I am here at UCLA as a full time student trying the best I can. When people see me, they are quick to judge and casually assume that I am rich and my parents paid my way through tutoring and other academic lever to get me to an institution like UCLA. No one helped me get here to UCLA, I did all the work on my own. I chose to take advanced placement classes, I chose to become an athlete, I chose to run school clubs. My parents don’t have a large sum of savings to leave me if unfortunate events occur. I have no one to turn to if I don’t broaden my reasoning and problem solving skills here in college. In this highly competitive social market, I have to fend for myself because no one else is going to do the work for me. I have to finish my homework, work out, study for exams, pay the bills, and organize paper work because I don’t have a choice. I have my own life, but half of it has to be put on hold because my parents need me.
When I start my own family and have children, I hope that they won’t have to experience what it’s like to be underrepresented in a low income household. Why do I do what I do? I do what I do because at the moment my life calls for initiative and excessive chores. Being a student will help to give me a better chance to not be in the financial dilemma my parents have been in the past few years. I have to do what I do so that life won’t be as demanding later on.