People often form first impressions of me and then pigeon-hole me as one type of person or another, but I soon prove to them that I am multi-faceted and unique. Sometimes they think I'm one of those "girly-girls" and then I show them how well I can swing a hammer to fix a house. At other times, they think I am a "sporty girl", but then blow their mind when I perform a traditional Cambodian folk dance or compete in a beauty contest. I am skilled in math and science, but then I impress them with my music and creative abilities. People who tell me, “you can’t do that” motivate me to prove them wrong. I am diverse. I am multi-talented. Labels don’t define me.
In elementary and middle school, I beat almost everyone in the mile run, including most of the boys. In high school, I tried out for cross-country and tennis and made both varsity teams in my first year. When I developed an interest in playing music, my best friend taught me piano. Later, I taught myself how to play guitar by watching YouTube videos. In middle and high school, I played First Violin and performed with the International Youth Orchestra based in Loudoun County, VA. I used my study halls to sculpt and paint for my own pleasure.
Throughout high school, my after-school jobs provided me with leadership opportunities. I worked at learning centers that taught children the basics of science. I surprised my managers by how quickly they could trust me to lead group sessions. It was not long before they made me a leader for camps, classes, and training other coworkers.
This past summer, I went on a mission trip with my church to repair houses for the underprivileged. On the first day, I was tearing up flooring and ripping down walls. I focused on what I was doing and did not stop to consider that other jobs would be more fun or easier than the one I was doing. By the end of the week, my role evolved and I found myself leading a team and organizing work.
If you were to open a dictionary, the pages would turn and flip back and forth between adjectives and adverbs to describe me, seeming it would never stop. Eventually, it would turn to the section beginning with "U" and your hand would fall upon the word "undefined".