This past year, I have encountered many experiences that pushed my limits both emotionally and mentally. One of my very close friends ran away from home, hurt by the blunt words of his mother, only to hurt himself even more rather than to help himself. Through his painful endeavor, he could not finish his current year of schooling and was faced head-on with the responsibilities and fears involved in being independent. I thought myself to be brave when I refused to show others around me how upsetting the circumstances were. Trying to justify my lack of emotion, I told myself that I was being unselfish by not over-dramatizing and adding to the tears and confusion. I learned from witnessing his trials that sometimes it is more beneficial to show your emotions than to keep them stored inside. I also learned to be extremely grateful everyday for the millions of blessings in my life, from my loving sister who came all the way home from college for a few precious hours to watch me perform in a concert the day before an exam, to my Christian small-group leader who consistently takes time out of her busy day to send thoughtful cards or call me to catch up.
I believe that each person I meet is purposefully placed in my life to teach me something about myself or to inspire me. Every person has found a place in my heart and has played a part in developing my personality and morals. My mother has taught me the selflessness of sacrifice. Having grown up as the youngest of eight in the countryside of South Korea, a member of a financially struggling family, she attended one of the top colleges in Korea and earned an MBA after her arrival in the United States. Equipped with the skills and determination to pursue a professional career, she instead sacrificed her time and her heart to raising her children when she became a mother. My best friend, Mikaela, taught me the joy of simply living. Every minute I spend time with her, I learn how to be content with my accomplishments and to challenge myself further not through competition, but by spending time doing what I love to do.
I am grateful for the people who have influenced me, and am convinced that I have been molded into a better person with their inspiration.
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