Being immigrant entrepreneurs fresh off the boat from China, my parents always preached to me the value of handwork trumping all else. As a child, my parents taught me that everything in my life is in my own hands. With this came a stereotypical notion that if I ever failed to accomplish something, I had only myself to blame. For many other kids raised in a stereotypical Chinese “tiger family”, this would have only been motivating. As I grew up, however, I found my parents’ values to be nothing more or less than stressful. I was always the biggest sore loser at my daycare when I lost a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

It wasn’t until my high school experience changed my mindset for the better. I felt extremely pressured my freshman and sophomore years. The stress I was over these years made my academic performance lacking. But by the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I cannot possibly win every battle. There are always going to be teachers who are difficult or simply spiteful. On the flip side, there are also always going to be teachers who will do whatever it takes to help their students succeed. My junior year, I brought up my weighted GPA from a 3.3 to a near 4.0, taking 8 classes and receiving straight A’s. But in no way do I take full credit for that accomplishment. I realize my junior year was a lucky year for me. You win some and you lose some; it was just simply my turn to win.

My high school experience has highlighted for me how arbitrary, yet powerful, luck can be in one’s life. I used to believe everything was in my own hands. The high school has proven to be quite the contrary. At the same time, however, the high school has also taught me that luck favors the prepared. So now I take life day by day—hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.