I am Andrea Isabelle Lao, a 16-year-old Filipina whose family moved to Texas last July 2016 to seek a better life. Because of the difference between the education system here and in the Philippines, and that English is not my first language, I was overwhelmed. I felt distant and behind everyone. However, I did not let language barrier or my limited knowledge about the new curriculum become a hindrance. I did not waste time. The first year I transferred, I took AP classes, remained on the A honor roll, completed my TSIs, SAT, and ACT, took summer college classes, and will take Dual Enrollment classes this year to save financially and to save time.
Time, I realized, is important when my mom died from lymphoma, a cancer. It was a hard period but my dad made me realize that we must keep going. He is a hard-working person who would do anything for his five children. Understanding that nothing will be the same was tough; nevertheless, I did not stay in shambles. In the Philippines, I was an involved student as a volleyball player, class representative, school senator, a member of the Campus Ministry helping our community church, and was the 2015-2016 class salutatorian.
Even through the difficulties, I still did my best because through education, I can show my gratitude towards my dad. I decided to ease his burdens and repay him tenfold by being successful in the medical field. As an OB-GYN and a nurse consecutively, my mom and dad served as my inspiration to take medicine as I saw their burning passion and genuineness to help people changed not just me but the people surrounding them. I also gained in a hard way a deeper appreciation for people’s lives as something to cherish, value, fight, and protect.
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