What is your greatest struggle in life?
“TAMS as a whole has been a great struggle. From the beginning, people in the past have
underestimated me. I was told “someone like you doesn’t fit in a place like TAMS”, “It’s going to
ruin your soul”, “You’re not going to make great grades” and, “That’s the Asian school and
you’re blonde, what do you think you’re doing?”. I was told these things when coming into
TAMS. So being here, I want to show people that I’m a person who can put their mind to
anything and make a difference.
For example, I recently entered the Siemens competition. I worked 30 hours a week all
summer (except for like two weeks). And later worked on the research paper for three months,
putting my heart and soul into it. My friends and family encouraged me, saying “If you work
really hard, good things will come back in return”. This whole time, I really doubted myself
because I thought: you never see anyone like me winning a completion like Siemens. But I
continued, with motivation written on my wall: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever
will.” Finally submitting the paper, I waited for the results to come out. When I saw that I didn’t
place in semifinalists, I was really heart-broken. I never really worked for something that hard
before, giving my 110%, pushing me, and expanding my horizons. I actually thought that I could
defy the odds and get at least some recognition for my work. But seeing that I didn’t, I felt like I
let myself and others who believed in me down with disappointment.”
How is senior mentoring so far?
“Senior mentoring is like THE best part of my life right now. Seeing my juniors by the end of
each day keeps me going. Just as much as I’m supposed to be mentoring them, they are also
teaching me so much in return.
I remember the night before PSAT during room checks, I told them that each of them
has a unique sparkle inside of them and they were put on this earth because of that sparkle.
Regardless of National Merit and scores - which is just background noise - the sparkle they each
have is what’s going to define them and make a difference in the world since no one can ever
The time I was really down about Siemens, Sophia orchestrated them to write sticky
notes, buy rice crispy treats and more to lift me up. Several of the sticky notes mentioned the
sparkle analogy I told them and they threw it back at me. This really helped me remember that
life is so much more about people and loving them more than success and accomplishments.
Having these juniors are like have 26 little sisters that really keep me going through the year. I
feel like I would’ve been a wreck senior year without them keeping my head up and positive.
They’re so funny, joyful, and kind, reminding me about life outside of academics.”