Scholarship Finalist: Alex Lin

How to Be Humble, How to Hustle

After over a decade of helping my parents with their businesses, I understand the physical and emotional pain that is associated with many forms of labor. As a young child, I was put to work scooping rice, making soup, and waiting on customers.

Though it surely was not a “fun” or “awesome” experience, it allowed for a greater appreciation for everything my parents have done, are doing, and will do so that my future strays from their pasts. My father was not allowed to attend school and instead had to carry buckets of water, working under the blazing sun each day. My mother was prohibited from the continuation of her education due to financial concerns and immigrated to the United States to work at a restaurant. Each learned early in their lives the limits of their educational career. I merely hope that, with the Surety Bonds Scholarship, I can ease their worries and lighten the lines worked into their faces after so many years of harsh work.

Chang An II was my second home. Each day, I would rush from the school bus, eat, and begin working. As my parents could not always afford many workers, my sister and I helped around, filling in necessary positions. Sometimes, I would have difficulty finishing my homework or projects, but I would silently turn on the lights late in the night and work into the morning to keep up my studies. While some may deem it child labor, I knew that my parents were doing everything in their ability to provide my sister and I with the opportunities that they never had. I remember each customer that would order food, complimenting the diligence of my family and donating small amounts of money to a small tin can labeled “Colege Moni” spelled incorrectly by my childish scribbles. Yet, business soon slowed down and my father decided to help open a stainless steel company in New York.

To pursue work in an effort to support their children, my parents followed the company and moved to New York. They left my sister and I alone in an apartment due to the proximity of our graduation times, fearing that moving would cause more trouble. It was fine with the two of us, despite our frequent quarreling. We helped each other and supported each other three hundred miles from our parents for an entire school year with almost weekly visits from our parents. But then, my sister graduated and went off to college. I have lived alone in an apartment for almost an entire school year now, cooking meals, playing piano to the melancholy rain, whispering goodnight to the moon from my window. Though perhaps at times sorrowful or lonely, I am more grateful than anyone could ever imagine. I know that while I am wrapped up in blankets, staring at the ceiling and waiting for sleep to come, that my parents are still working tirelessly late into the night to make my education possible.

It is my desire to help my parents and thank them for everything they have done, but also to create a future where I can support my own family and while helping others. I know that I could never understand the variety and gravity of each individual’s personal problems, but I will use my opportunities to pursue a career and to enhance my ability to positively change the lives of others. I want to fill that tin can labeled “Colege Moni” and convert it into the ability to change the world.

This essay was written by Alex Lin, 1 of 10 finalists for the Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program. Alex and the other finalists were selected from more than 1300 applications reviewed by the Scholarship Committee. Three of the finalists will win a $1,500 scholarship to be used toward furthering their education. To vote for Alex or any of the other finalists, visit the Small Business Success Student Scholarship voting app on Facebook.

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