Another Chance

Chang - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This morning, I noticed a sign on the door of a classroom. It read, “AP Calculus BC Test Corrections.” When I peeked inside the room, I witnessed a horde of students working with all their might to seize this opportunity to earn a better test score. Just like these students, I believe that second chances are crucial to life.

Although I currently reside in the United States, half of my identity belongs to my home country, Korea. When I was nine years old, my parents made a bold decision. As the economy of Korea declined and opportunities for success began to disappear, my parents worried. They had doubts about my future as well as their own well-being. After a serious deliberation, my parents chose to leave their home country and move to a completely foreign America. They told me that this was to provide a better life and opportunity for me. Now, as I examine my short life, my parents’ decision to move was to give me a second chance, the American Dream, which they never got. Faced with unpredictable life, my parents did not anticipate the deterioration of the economy in Korea. Although their lives might not be as luxurious as they hoped, they saw a rare opportunity for me. To give me the life they had hoped for themselves, my parents deserted a comfortable lifestyle.

Ever since, second chances have been the core of their beliefs and how they raised me. However, my parents expect more out of me because they made this sacrifice. In my childhood, my parents made it clear that I would be given three chances. They allowed mistakes and forgave me easily because they understood that I was still a child. Nevertheless, there was a catch. Each time, I was to work harder than before. If I missed three chances to work harder, that would be it. No matter how much I begged there was not even a tremble in my parents’ voice as they turned me down.

Yesterday, I entered the kitchen and spotted an unbelievable sight. My mother, who could not have returned from work more than an hour ago, was working ferociously to create a savory meal for her family. I noticed the sweat drooping down her face and blinding her eyes.

“Do you need any help, Mom?” I cautiously asked.

Mom, whose mind was so occupied that it needed to take a few seconds to register this, answered, “Sure. Can you set up the spoons and the chopsticks?”

As I set up the dinner table, I came into a realization. I only came to recognize it now maybe because I have matured in some sense. I understood why my parents raised me the way they did. I believe that I should give all my effort to reach success in life, not for my own pleasure, but for the sake of everything that my parents worked and sacrificed for, the second chance they taught me to appreciate.