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INTOTHEBEST, Inc. Scholarship Honorable Mention Bo Liu 2

Congratulations to Bo Liu from Pattonville
Bo Liu is on his way to success.

Bo's Essay:

"The Lord gave us two ends- One to sit on and the other to think with. Success depends on which one we use the most."

- Ann Landers

It is said that the human brain has so great a capacity that the most brilliant could not utilize over 15% of its functions. I will not try to verify nor challenge the validity of this statement. But I agree that the full potential of man is still unknown to our earthly minds.

Born and raised in a country where traditions of the old dominate the lives and minds of the new, I have aligned my aim with the traditional Chinese saying: "Out of a book comes thousand gold." Intellect is valued, and intellect comes mainly from education. A good education is one way, and to many, the only way to climb up the social ladder.

I was fortunate to be born in my family of three, for there are few who do not forget the ardor of climbing up the ladder once they are there. Father came from a rural peasant family, the least likely to produce any "elite". Grandmother valued books and school as wastes of money and time. It was often repeated to me by father of how an average short-sight peasant mother tore up the son's books in vain attempt to pull him "back to his senses". With the silent support of Grandfather and an undeterred drive to succeed, father continued to learn. In 1978, father became the first student ever from the district of Yong Yuan to attend a college in Beijing- the nation's capital. Stories of how everyone within the radius of ten kilometers came to congratulate father, and how a impoverished country district pitched together enough tuition fees for a "key" college would haunt me forever. Father went on to become an assistant to the governor of Heilong Jiang province later a white collar in the Heilong Jiang International Trade Co.- then the most prestigious institution of business in Northeast China. Mother was born in a family of the Guomin Tang- the loser of the Chinese civil war. The family did not attempt to escape to Taiwan for nostalgia was an epidemic among those who went. As a result, mother's performance, regardless of her effort, was always questioned and checked. "The power of a seed could crack a skull." Mother's drive to succeed overcame. She became one of the first females in the country to enroll in college, and thrived at her workplace. My childhood was made easy by my parents. However, my parents did not let down guard against the corrupting power of convenience. Discipline became the supreme law and school was the most prominent court case. Good grades were often rewarded with a delicious dinner, a warm hug, or a new book. Bad ones never fail to end in a beating. It was in my childhood when the drive to succeed was carved into me, or perhaps passed down to me through blood.

From grade school on, I have never been placed anywhere but first in class rankings. I gradually grew used to the praise and compliments from adults and peers. In the process, I discovered what intellect was worth and how it is perceived. "There is no better friend than a smart one and no greater foe than a gifted enemy." Growing up, I experienced first-hand of how true that statement is. As I enter my adult life, I respect nothing more than the pure brilliance radiating of a person and nothing less than one's drive to obtain that brilliance.

The nosedive into America did not influence me as much as expected. Intellect and talent are respected here as well. The education system had more resources available and many have dedicated themselves to the profession of teaching. The government is actively engaged in keeping kids in school. Going to school for free is a reality as opposed to in China, "free schooling" adds up to nothing other than a lie. Various extracurricular activities enable the American youth to pursue their distinct interests. The main stream American culture is all for success. Sadness hits me whenever I read in a paper that some did not take this blessing of an opportunity.

Upon enrolling in school, my first problem was the language barrier. For weeks, I shied away from the congregated lunch groups despite their warm invitations. I felt that I did not belong. But as time flowed by, my artificial shell began to crack under the onslaught of friendliness. The Americans, I was thought, are drunk-driving, weird-dressed drug addicts. With my own eyes, I witnessed the true Americans. Of course, my peers shied away from me first just like I did them. The teachers were the first to come to my rescue. On my first day, I was shown around school by Mrs. Clearence- a Spanish teacher with a great smile. Then Mrs. Block, my English teacher, approached me and took to me like her own son, not only concerned by my English skills but also my personal life. Her warmth drowned me out. After the teachers came my first teenage friends- the International club members who, like I, came from various origins. From then on, the shell was no more.

Now, as I start my third year in the States, I have acquainted myself with hundreds of friends. I love all my instructors and dearly hope they feel the same. I have welted into America. I go out with friends to dinners and movies. I participate in various clubs and activities. I even started a chess club for all the chess players at Pattonville High School. However, whenever I was free to think or unable to fall asleep, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction nibbling away inside me. It was the feeling of superiority. The sense one gets when one is unchallenged. That was how I felt. Ever since I overcame the language barrier, nothing was hard, or even moderately challenging. Perhaps I was driven too fast in China, but all of the math and science materials reminded me of middle school. School is relaxed and slow-paced, while in China, school is a battleground where only the most driven or talented could triumph.

As awards began to gather in my personal folder, I slacked. Intellect was a distant word and school became a place where one gets together with friends. It was not until I met Jeffery Dorr had I recognized how wrong I was. Jeff and I met at a science lecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a second year student in Pre-med major. An utterly astonishing person in conversation, he showed me how much work awaits me in college. His stories of how his high school education failed to prepare him for college stroke an alarm in my heart. I have no right to slack. High school is just another step on the stairs of education, and a very low one at that. Talks with Jeff and my instructors made me realize that I can not stop.

I can not stop learning; I can not stop appreciating knowledge; I can not stop the drive to succeed in my blood. I can not stop. I will not stop. I know that I can not do everything, but I also accept, without an awry eye, that my potential is unbounded. My skills might not yet be refined, but my drive to perfect them is in constant acceleration. Offer me an education, I will give you a better man.

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