The Things I Carried - Ying Qiao Wang '18

I’m fortunate, not only because I don’t need to worry what to eat, what to wear and where to live, but I had this chance to study abroad. This chance seems really honorable, but this is actually a pressure that I carried along the way. It takes a lot of money and courage to send a kid abroad, and my parents thought in a same way too. They earned every cent of my tuition, and they had that courage to send me abroad, to let me pursue a more bright future. So I don’t want to fail, but the situation I’m in indeed gave me a lot of pressure, as I carried this pressure along with every day of my life abroad.

Everything started from the vacation at the end of my 7th Grade. I told my parents that I had an idea of studying abroad. I told them when they picked me up at the end of the school year to go back to my house. I can still remember their reaction: my mom froze for a second, but she suddenly hid her emotion and smiled very reluctantly. She then asked:

“Oh, do you want to go abroad now?”

“Yes, mom. I think it will be better for my future.” I leaned forward suddenly and answered.

“Ok, Let me and your dad think about it, but start your preparation now in case we agree.” My mom answered.

She answered happily, but still, she was worrying something. I could not tell, but I felt that this is not how they usually talk with me when we were talking happy things. I went on preparing for the standardized tests anyway.

Things changed after a night. I fell asleep early because I was stressed out on preparing for these standardized tests. I woke up at midnight, and I had to go to the bathroom. It’s dark everywhere. I could not see anything. It must have been a midnight and I bumped my head on the wall when I was trying to go to the bathroom. The light in the bathroom almost killed me, I fell back a little, because my eyes hurt a lot when I suddenly saw that strong light after a really deep sleep. When I walked back to my room, I heard something that changed my whole life. My dad and mom were still talking at this time. They did not sleep. I can still remember what they said:

“Why is he trying to study abroad? We already said that we will send him abroad when he is attending college. We don’t have money to send him abroad right now. I still need money for business. We don’t have that much money to use” My Dad said with worriness.

My Mom sighed and answered: “I know, but I don’t want him to be disappointed. He had the idea to study abroad and I want to support him. I want to give him a chance to pursue for a better future, and not to depress his desire to be better. Yeah, I just don’t want to let him down.”

“But you know it’s hard for us now to afford this right?”

“Yes, but it’s worth trying. If we can’t, we can sell our car or house back in hometown to afford him. We need to send him. It’s his own desire to study abroad and I don’t want to let him down.”

I froze for a long time standing on the side of that closed door. I could still remember the worries in their tone, and that sigh from my mother. I can not forget it. I feel guilty now for adding too much pressure on this whole family. I feel like I’m a person who committed a crime. I made my parents worried and they could not fall asleep at midnight. On the second day, when I saw them, It seemed like there was more wrinkles on my mom’s face, and my dad’s head gets bolder. I never noticed these changes before, but now I understood it all. They worked so hard for me, but I’m just a normal student that probably have no value to this society. When they hugged me and said that they support my decision, I don’t know what to say. I feel that my world suddenly turns upside down. The guilt is everywhere, I was squeezed into a corner, feeling guilty and helpless. I don’t want to tell them that I heard all the things they talked last night, and their smile is just a nightmare to me. I know that the smile they showed me means the worries they had on business, the worries they had at night.

The only thing I could think of is to study hard to make my future more bright and to make them happy. I didn’t want to reject their support, because I didn’t want them to worry about more things. I felt pumped, by their support, hope and love. So I started to study really hard to get into a school in America. I made a study plan for a year. I gave up my Chinese class and English class to study these tests, or English. My English level at that time stayed on a level that can only greet people. I could not do any academic work, I could not even talk with Americans. I can still remember how I practiced Listening for TOEFL: I bought a notebook, and I downloaded some TOEFL lectures. After remembering a lot of TOEFL vocabularies, I started to write down what the lectures said on that notebook. It’s a boring and stressful process, because at the start I had to listen to a sentence for four or five times in order to clearly knew what she or he said, and repeat for four or five minutes. More heartbreaking things were that I would usually get sixty or even over one-hundred errors for every lecture I listened at the start. So I had to re-listen to these errors and fix them. I had an idea of giving up, but I knew that I’m not only studying for myself, but also studying for our family, because I was the only hope for my family. They put everything on me, now it was time for me to make them proud and happy.

As people said, a hardworking person always has a better result at the end. I received an offer from Hebron Academy at the end, and more worries things are that my parents now has money to afford my tuition because their business was growing big. Now looking back to what happened before I came here, I still feel lucky and blessed. We don’t need to sell our cars or houses anymore, as my parents now earned a lot of money that is enough for the rest of their life probably. But I still can remember what they said at that midnight, what I carried along the way. I work hard on everything, because there’s not only me standing on my side, but also my parents, and their hope and love. I can not, and I never would depress them.