Dear SOAR Donors:
I hope all is well with you. My name is Ker, a senior at Zhejiang University, School of Administration. I am very grateful for the SOAR scholarship, which has helped me tremendously. This is the third year I received the scholarship, so SOAR has accompanied me through my college life. I am thankful for SOAR’s assistance and your generous donations.
I realized from a very young age that compared to other families, my family faced more severe financial challenges. Both of my parents are farmers. Although they toiled in the field every day from dawn to dusk, our financial situation didn’t seem to improve. Being young and not understanding the hardship, I used to feel sad and embarrassed for having to wear my sisters’ hand-me-down cloths. Sometimes, I even threw temper tantrums over that, without noticing the helplessness and exhaustion in my parent’s eyes. It was not until I passed the rebellious age and left home for school that I started to gradually realize how difficult it was for my parents. It was also during that time that I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized the importance of study. I may never be equal to other in terms of material possessions, but I can be equal to or even better than others in terms of spiritual pursuit. Although my parents only have elementary school education, they have always been supportive of my education and always tried their best to create opportunities for my academic endeavors.
With persistent effort and support from my teachers and peers, I was admitted by Zhejiang University. However, my parents’ divorce threw us in a deeper financial crisis. It took much effort for my mom to come up with the tuition for my freshman year, and she was facing the prospect of supporting my college education all by herself. It was at that time that I came across SOAR. For the first time in my life, I realized that besides my parents and school, there are other people who care about me and are willing to help me. SOAR provided me with not just the scholarship, but more importantly care and encouragement. Every conversation I have with the SOAR volunteers makes me feel like SOAR is not a cold and indifferent organization, but a place full of love and care that I am proud to be part of.
Time flies. I’m going to graduate this year, which means I’ve come to a new turning point of my life. Looking back at the past three and half years, I had been feeling sorry for myself for a period of time and didn’t dare to take any actions, but eventually I was able to overcome my fears and move forward. Although my grade was disappointing when I first entered the university, I always believed that my efforts would pay off, as shown by the gradual improvement of my grades. I used to be very self-conscious, quiet, and fearful of public speaking, but now I can express myself in front of others with confidence. I’m proud of myself for such changes. In order to help my mom with our financial situation and gain social and working experience, I worked as a campus representative, student assistant and private tutor. I also worked as summer intern in corporations during summer breaks. I still remember how excited I was when I received my first salary. It made me realize that every penny comes from hard work, and all the hard work deserve to be respected and valued. Last year, I participated in the entrance exam for graduate school. It was not an easy decision to make. My mom was getting old, but still needed to work hard to support me. I wished to find a job so that she would no longer need to work and could go home to rest. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to further my education. While I was debating, my mom helped me make up my mind. She firmly supported my decision to go to graduate school and said she would do her best to help me. I felt so relieved after I finished the exam. For me, finding a job or going to graduate school are both good options. I believe there are different paths in life, and no matter which path we choose, our journey will be rewarding as long as we always give our best effort.
I feel very lucky to be able to get into my dream university, to have the support of my family, and to be able to receive SOAR’s scholarship over the past few years. I know that there are many other hard-working students who are not able to get college education because of the social-economical constraint in their local areas. In my hometown, for example, many people are not as lucky as I am. My goal is to pass along the faith and spirit of SOAR. In the future, I wish to make my share of contributions to this organization. When I first received the SOAR scholarship, I realized that it was not merely a token of kindness, but a call for a future duty to bring hope to others, however small that would be. As a college student, I shouldn’t make it my goal to achieve my own happiness or satisfy my own wishes. Instead, I should take full advantage of the available resources to study hard and make myself useful to our country and society. I think this is the best way I can pay back your kindness.
Thank you again for your help. I deeply cherish SOAR’s spirit, and will endeavor to spread it. I wish good health to your all, and a better future to SOAR.
February 23, 2019