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Masters Statistics Personal History, Chinese

 

Raised in China where my exposure to English was very limited, coming to America and enrolling in college represented a great challenge for me. But the hard part was yet to come: getting good grades. While I wish my grades could have been higher, given the uphill battle that I confronted to bring my English up to speed so quickly, I am generally pleased with how I have performed. I could not be more proud of the fact, most of all, that I will be graduating in only 3 years, while most of my fellow students are finishing only after 4.

Girls are generally discriminated against under Communist Chinese patriarchy—despite their rhetoric—in terms of education, one’s subsequent employment, as well as the rights of a woman and a mother as part of a family, inheritance, etc. Both my mother and I have suffered under this system. My mom always told me to become successful so as to demonstrate how women can do what men do and often do it even better; and she made my education her first priority. Piano, violin, drawing, speech, ballet, and most of all my classes in preparation for the Mathematics Olympics, often took up the whole weekend in addition to after school. I complained sometimes because I had no time to relax, but when I thought about the purpose behind all these, I felt thankful that I had more opportunities than most other girls in our society. Even many of my relatives try to send only the boys in the family to college, wanting the girls to stay home and get married. Even when girls do go to college, it is often assumed that the sole purpose of doing so is to find a husband who will have a well paying job.

I was the first person on either side of my family to come to United States to study. From that point forward, my relatives treated me differently. Chinese people have always admired Western culture. English was a mandatory class in most of the schools in the city in which I grew up, beginning with the first grade. While in kindergarten, my parents brought me to a Canadian tutoring center where I had an opportunity to talk to a Canadian for one hour once a week to enhance my listening and speaking ability. Always near the top of my class in English, I learned as much grammar and vocabulary as I could in school. In the sixth grade, I won second place in the National English Contest for elementary school students.

 

When my parents sent me to study in America, I thought I would have no problem doing well in classes in English because of the many extracurricular English classes that I had taken in China. When I first arrived, however, I found living, working, and learning everything in English to be very difficult. At first, I was really shy in school but gradually grew more comfortable as time passed. In my ESL classes I quickly realized I was not at all alone and that most of my ESL peers faced a greater challenge than I did. I am thankful for my native-English-speaking friends who heeded my request to correct me when I made mistakes. Now, my English has improved year by year and I am well on my way to speaking English as a near-native speaker myself.

Nevertheless, my academic journey has been filled with roadblocks, bumps, and holes. By the beginning of my sophomore year, I began to worry about what I wanted to do after graduation. I even made a list of potential careers and worked to shorten it. While Mathematics has long been my first love and central academic passion, it was not immediately clear to me how to best go about converting my dedication to Math into a way to support myself, especially since—despite completing a 4 year program in 3 years—I also had to work to make ends meet economically. I got a job as an assistant to the accountant of a 3D printing company and was pleased by the fact that I learned a lot about accounting, payroll processing, and bookkeeping.

About 7 or 8 months ago I read an article dealing with how we tend to measure happiness, annual income, house, car, etc. The project was funded and executed by the Hitachi Company and they gathered data from their employees as a result of their wearing sensors that tracked and recorded their movements and interactions. Most of all, this study clearly demonstrated a profoundly significant link between happiness and interactivity as well as between productivity and interactivity. This is the moment when I clearly recognized for the first time the sheer power of data and statistics, the profound impact that they can have on life, fulfillment, and economic development. If employers want to increase creativity and productivity then they should increase interactions and subsequently happiness in the work place. I love the simplicity of this finding and the way that it vindicates so much of what I find most charming about the workplace. Thus, I have continued to learn everything that I could about data and how it is put to good use along with statistics and their impact for development and scientific advancement, searching for a way to contribute to this progress through the career choices that I would soon make. Hence, my application to XXXX to earn my Master’s Degree and become a XXXX professional.

I am currently working at my college as a supplemental instruction leader for a calculus class, leading learning sessions of about 7 students. I am convinced that this experience will also help me to hit the ground running at Berkeley and to distinguish myself as a student in your Masters Program in XXXX.

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