Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Three thousand dollars. To some, that’s an impressive savings; to others, it’s not much. But to a particular woman, three thousand dollars is not merely a sum; it’s the sacrifice of a portion of her lifetime, the result of commitment and dedication to securing a better future for coming generations. That woman is my grandmother.
Nai Nai is a petite woman, barely reaching 5 feet, but what she lacks in stature she makes up for in ambition. She grew up in impoverished rural China, and often found herself starving for days along with her six siblings, despite the long and tedious hours my great-grandparents worked as farm laborers. Out of a sense of responsibility as the eldest child, she gave up her education at the age of thirteen in order to find a job to help support her family.
That sense of responsibility never left her. Even after her marriage to my grandfather, she continued working hard at multiple jobs. Her positions ranged from local farmer to school janitor. There is social stigma attached to being a janitor in China; it placed Nai Nai among society’s lowest ranks. She was scorned because she cleaned up the filth of others, but she never felt ashamed. She continued to hold her head high and work hard to provide a better life for her family, believing that her uphill battle would pay off someday. Sometimes going without for herself, she would set aside money for savings each month with the intention of providing for future generations.
The first chance for my grandmother to pass on the fruits of her labor came when my parents immigrated to the United States in 1982. Nai Nai gave them money from her savings to help them get settled. Having had few opportunities herself, my grandmother was hopeful that my father would make something of himself in the United States. Carrying on my grandmother’s ambitious attitude, my father worked hard to support himself and my mother. Eventually, they were able to open up their own restaurant. This achievement encouraged my grandmother to work even harder so that she could help her grandchildren like she did her children. Ultimately, she amassed three thousand dollars.
Recently, Nai Nai called me with a proposition: if I could get into college, she would help to pay my tuition by contributing her entire savings of three thousand dollars. Although I know the importance of going to college for us first generation students, I was still shocked that my grandmother was willing to give up her entire savings to contribute to my education. These three thousand dollars represented not only a lifetime of work, but also her dignity and pride.
Nai Nai’s perseverance and generosity have taught me much. Life is filled with unexpected turns; it seldom goes according to plan, but I cannot be defeated by the obstacles of life. The adversity and the struggles that she had faced to obtain the three thousand dollars have made the sum worth much more than its monetary value. It is the sum of a life of hard work and endurance.
I strive to live by Nai Nai’s example. She taught me to cherish my dreams, because those ideas are worth more than any gems in the world. She taught me success does not come easy without perseverance and endurance. She taught me to be mindful of others, and not let my knowledge go wasted. The three thousand dollars that she had passed down to me will remind me to be prideful in all obstacles, and I will optimize it with the success of my goals.
以Three Thousand Dollars为牵引线，陈述背后的故事和意义；
其中，在文章转入对奶奶的介绍的时候，作者对奶奶的physical image进行了描写—“a petite woman, barely reaching 5 feet”，这个片段简短，但太过重要，奶奶矮小的体型和她为家庭做出贡献的高大形成了鲜明的对比，这样的对比冲击力极大。后文也交代奶奶瘦小的体型源于物/质的匮乏，但这样的拮据并未成为奶奶自怨自艾的理由，反倒使奶奶奋起改变命运——后代人的命运。奶奶有限的文化层面限制了她的工作范畴，她能够从事的工作从来都不被大众所看得上眼，但并没有限制她对美好生活的憧憬，她从来都不以物喜不以己悲。在她看来，她的努力终有一日得以回报。
事实也是如此，奶奶的努力让远赴他乡的父母得到了帮助，这份帮助远超经济支助，那是一份精神鼓舞。父母的不懈努力和改变命运的劲头多少来自奶奶的言传身教，这是一种潜移默化的影响，一代接一代，如同对作者的影响一样。奶奶对教育的重视从一生积蓄的投资选择不难看出，3000美元于美国的教育费用而言是杯水车薪，于作者而言却无比厚重，远超百万财富的价值。它是一份传承，更是一份动力，在文章的结尾句也有提到“he three thousand dollars that she had passed down to me will remind me to be prideful in all obstacles, and I will optimize it with the success of my goals.”。
Scorn: 轻蔑、鄙视、嘲弄、不屑 ；
Optimize: 使完善、使优化，比make use of更加强调最大化。