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It wasn't the many titles my father held that distinguished him

It wasn't the many titles my father held that distinguished him, but the lives that he touched. One of them was mine and I just wish he were still here so that I could tell him how grateful I am for all that he taught me.

In order to understand my future, you would have to take a look at my father's past. Living on a small island near Hong Kong, my father and his family were extremely poor. With eight other siblings, my father's parents had come to accept that their children were not going to have a luxurious, or even average, future. As impossible as it seemed, my father beat the odds; he worked hard in school and eventually immigrated to the United States for college. However, dreams come true, not free; my father had to work every hour of his free time in order to pay off his tuition. He didn't go out to parties, he didn't go out to games, he didn't even go out to eat--every night he had homemade chicken and lettuce. Many people considered it a miracle that he had time to meet my mother.

He became, not only a doctor, but a professor as well as a deacon in my church, a Sunday school teacher, a sought-after speaker, a founder of a Christian magazine, a medical researcher, and a great father.

Although extremely proud of him, I have always felt that his success had, in a way, predetermined my future. I mean, how could I compete with such a successful doctor? Not wanting to live in my father's shadow, I decided that my future career would be anything but medical.

Growing up in such a fortunate lifestyle helped shape my perception of career possibilities. Because I was so used to luxury, I thought that a well-paid job was necessary. Not only that, but my Chinese culture also played a part in my need for success--my parents wanted successful children who they could brag about: a doctor, a lawyer, or a businessman. Since I had long banished the idea of becoming a doctor, and I had never found business appealing, I decided that being a lawyer was the best route. However, as I entered my high school years, I found myself being drawn toward science and its ability to explain humans and the way we think, eat, move, and function. My newfound passion for science led me to seriously re-evaluate my reasons for not wanting to go into medicine. I knew it was ridiculous to ignore my passion just because I feared failure, but I also knew that it would be difficult to even come close to my father's success.

Then, I went to Costa Rica to volunteer my services in a poverty-stricken village. Although I went there to teach students about English, my students actually taught me about something more profound: my future. Seeing their living conditions made me realize what I wanted to do in the future.

I also came to realize what made my dad successful . It was all the lives that he touched.

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