Lin Z.

$1,000 Resolve to Evolve Scholarship Winner - Sophomore

Viva la Vida – no, it’s not the Coldplay song; it’s the painting by Frida Kahlo. The symbol of death depicted through the watermelons coupled with the title “Long Live Life” taught me something priceless: one controls where one ends up. The harder one works, the more fruit will be harvested. However, one must know how to balance life. What is accomplished if one is a millionaire who has stressed-derived depression? Ultimately, life should be satisfying and balanced.

In a society where high school students are willing to give up their temporary wellbeing in order to succeed, college admissions are getting increasingly difficult. Though some may choose to fit in an extra class during lunch, I would not. I know my own limits. As a student taking 3 tough AP’s and an Honors class in addition to being on the cross country and track team, I realize that sacrificing my nutritional health is not a plausible idea. I personally need time to socialize and connect with the rest of the world during lunch since I’m always buried in academics or sports after school. The free time during lunch is also a time that allows personal development and will help reduce stress in my day, something that will ultimately benefit my academic success.

As if it wasn't hard enough to balance schoolwork, instruments, sports, and clubs, we are now expected to go beyond those “requirements”. We’re often faced with this question: what makes me stand out? My answer is passion. Like Frida Kahlo who experienced bitter, cruel accidents, she still showed her passion for art through magnificent paintings. She was dedicated, still creating artwork when she knew she had little time to live. Few people ever have to go through such tragedies. As fortunate students, we should be able to demonstrate even more passion towards things we value. For me, I demonstrate my passion for biology and love by helping at a senior center as well as a pediatric clinic. I find true happiness when the seniors look at me with gratitude and tell me how glad they are to have someone to talk to. In addition, I am starting a Biology Club at school to help bring interest to others about something I care about. I hope that others can see hope in a brighter future through scientific medical advances. I hope that I can change others’ perspectives on the great life that we are all blessed with.

Besides fulfilling the typical “good student” image and doing things that are special and significant, there is nothing else us students can do to ensure that the most deserving students gain entry to top universities. The admission process should be changed so that students compete directly with the students from their high school; a selection process should be held at the school in which only 1% of the most deserving students may apply to top universities. Perhaps, qualified teachers and counselors may have a process to nominate 1% of the most deserving students to apply. This significantly reduces the number of applicants at the universities, meaning more applicants will gain admission. At the high school level, teachers know which students have better work ethics and which students commit to activities, such as spending hours to help promote an ANTI-AIDS campaign. They can also tell which students value knowledge and which ones are just there to play the “college admissions game”. This enables students to have more competitive environments that promote erudition right in the classroom. Students also learn to act appropriately and respectfully around others. The top students of an entire community who demonstrate true potential will have access to the best education they can get. Although this proposed system is not perfect, it is a plausible innovation that can take passion and learning to the next level where behavior, respect, and human morals are set on the plate for college admissions. After all, it is character and passion that makes a person qualified for top universities – not 1000 words and a fancy resume.

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