I’ve seen that even as a high school student, I have so much potential to impact my family and beyond -- how one small act can go a long way. With the financial stability that my part-time jobs provided my mother could stay home to raise seven children, my learning-disabled older sister could attend college, my younger sister could go on a mission trip to Korea, and my twin siblings could compete in national math competitions. My sacrifice translated to a closer bond with my siblings and deeper conversations with my parents, helping me understand the true meaning of a unified family and the valuable part I play in that. Right then I made a commitment to my family to contribute financially in whatever way I could.“If you can’t live off of it, it is useless.” My parents were talking about ice skating: my passion.I started skating as a ten-year-old in Spain, admiring how difficulty and grace intertwine to create beautiful programs, but no one imagined I would still be on the ice seven years and one country later.We then moved to Spain when I was six, before finally arriving in California around my thirteenth birthday.
From the way my mentors and I began working two hours earlier than required to meet deadlines, I learned that engineering is the commitment of long hours. Biking the thirty-five minutes each evening to the cafe and back to work a six-hour shift was exhausting, but my family’s encouragement and gratitude for the extra income was worth it.I had purchased my 2002 Elantra with my own savings, but it was long past its prime.With some instruction from a mechanic, I began to learn the components of an engine motor and the engineering behind it.I repaired my brake light, replaced my battery, and made adjustments to the power-steering hose.Only at the ice rink could I be myself; the feeling of the cold rink breeze embracing me, the ripping sound of blades touching the ice, even the occasional ice burning my skin as I fell—these were my few constants.I did not need to worry about mispronouncing “axel” as “aksal.” Rather, I just needed to glide and deliver the jump.From its good-natured bruise-counting competitions to its culture of hard work and perseverance, ice skating provided the nurturing environment that made my other challenges worthwhile.Knowing that each moment on the ice represented a financial sacrifice for my family, I cherished every second I got. to practice what I had learned in my few precious minutes of coaching.What most intrigues me about engineering is not just the math or the technology, but the practical application.It is through engineering that I can fix up my car... Engineering, in fact, is a lifestyle -- instead of lingering over hardships, I work to solve them and learn from them.