Mentor Quote — Lisa

“Lisa, you are a very good student. You can study anything–even if you don’t like it.”

I will always remember these words spoken to me by my father.  We were sitting at the dining room table. Just my dad and me, no one else. My mom was in the kitchen and I can smell the cha sha pork, but it wasn’t making me feel better. This was supposed to be an important conversation because I was 17, a junior in high school, and I knew we were talking about my college future.

I knew my dad’s words were meant as a compliment but I felt the impact of his compliment as a mixture of insult and motivation.  In my mind what I thought was:  My dad thinks my brothers are smarter than me. He thinks the only thing I do well is study. Well, true, I was kind of a nerdy kid. I took all the AP classes.  I always did my homework on time, even ahead of time.  I spent my lunch time in the library.  I belonged to the smart-but-definitely-not-popular group.

I looked around. My brothers had not come out of their rooms. There was no one to hear us and I really had nothing to say. True, I was a good student. I always had been a good student. I was the first-born, and in a Chinese family, that was significant.  I was to set the example.  Study hard, practice music, never get into trouble.  I had always pleased my parents; I was proud of that; I wanted to please them.  I had not thought of any other way of being.  These thoughts were going though my head in the quietness of the dining room.


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