Unite UW | Jennifer, Fall 2017
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Jennifer, Fall 2017

When I passed the airport gate, I sobbed quietly so that my parents couldn’t hear. They shouted “Turn around, Jennifer!”

And I couldn’t, because tears were all over my face. I was 15 when I came to the US from China.

My first week in Oregon was rough: I was very nervous about social interaction and making friends in a new environment. My host mom was a college professor and writer, and she supported me through my transition. Every day after school she’d spend two hours interacting with me, understanding the struggle I was facing and helping me find a solution. Through our conversations, my language skills improved and we began to get close. My host dad was an engineer at Intel, and he introduced me to other engineers who were so passionate about their projects. At that time I had never seen passion and admiration like this. I wasn’t sure about my interest, but I realized that passion is important for making decisions in life and seeing that in other individuals inspired me. During high school, I realized that I was passionate about biology and my interactions with my host dad and his peers steered me towards pursuing his career as my own.

I feel really blessed and lucky to get so much love from people like my friends, my community, and Unite UW. I’m proud to have made friends and connected with people across all backgrounds, both American and International. This year I’ve realized that high school is who you’re with, but college is about who you are. Coming to the UW, I love the freedom but the academic rigor caught me off guard. I remember being really stressed about my English 131 portfolio that I procrastinated until the last day. I’ve learned that if you ever feel stressed out, open up and speak out. Talk to your friend, talk to your parents, talk to your advisers. Try to find campus resources that can help you out and remember that this is a huge opportunity that’s going to shape up who you’re going to be for the rest of your life.