Story College Essay

For a long time I had wanted to write something that would be a sort of tribute to my mom’s struggles and a testament to our relationship.

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As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English.

Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored.

Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough.

I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.

I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry. Cassandra Hsiao is a rising sophomore at Yale University.

In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. Her college application essay has reached millions across the world and factored into her acceptance by all 8 Ivy League Universities.

Because the essay mattered to me, perhaps it mattered to my college readers.

Turns out, it also mattered to readers around the world who could relate to my relationship with my mom, or the feeling of being an outsider, or how my family unapologetically embraces our flaws.

I had written it during the summer of junior year, when I was brainstorming ideas for the application.

But this piece, which is as dear to my heart today as it was two years ago, was meant just for myself: a creative outlet for my thoughts and emotions.


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