One Sandwich at a Time

Tell us about your relationship with a role model or mentor who has been influential in your life. How has their guidance been instrumental to your growth? (250 words)

The sandwich felt heavier than usual, wrapped in shimmery foil. I unfolded the pieces of aluminum and let out a groan. The boy sitting next to me instinctively turned his head. "Ew - What is THAT!?!" he shrieked.

My dad had spun out another new sandwich recipe -- peanut butter and ham, completed with pepperoncini and a drizzle of honey. My dad's sandwich creations were not any identifiable cuisine, but they were reflective of his penchant for venturing into the unknown. In China, even with a comfortable job, surrounded by people he'd known for years and a stable home for his family, he took a risk to come to America with my mom and me in tow.

In America, I drew my courage from my dad right from the start. On my first day of school, even though I didn't understand the recounting of summers at National Parks that the other kids told or Mrs. Sterling's colorful picture books that she read aloud from her rocking chair, I asked questions unashamedly and learned quickly. On our weekly library trips, I fostered my own eclectic cluster of interests from my dad's push to always try something new: I checked out everything from The Wind in the Willows to Martha Stewart's Menus for Entertaining.

Over the years, I've become my dad in many ways, continuing to push myself towards new experiences and opportunities. And it'll be up to me to find new worlds to explore at Yale, one sandwich at a time.