Setting Sail

Consider the books you have read in the last year or two either for school or for leisure. Please discuss the way in which one of them changed your understanding of the world, other people, or yourself.


I am a traveler, continually guided and inspired by the Homeric hero Odysseus while leading a life marked by departures and subsequent beginnings. The first journey began on November 9th, 2000, when my family and I left China in pursuit of bountiful opportunities in the “beautiful country,” the direct translation of “America.” Though eight years have passed by, the emotions imparted by the departure still resonate within me. Like Odysseus, whose goodbyes with Greece filled him with apprehension, as a young child, I too was doubtful about the life ahead after the initial excitement had subsided. Gradually, through overcoming minor struggles, such as joining in a game of Four Square instead of collecting pebbles in solitude at recess, to more significant ones including presenting my first oral book report in front of my fifth grade classmates, I now realize that my farewell has instilled in me an eagerness to embrace opportunities and a more enthusiastic and courageous attitude towards new experiences.

Odysseus’ parting with his homeland is comparable to my own, yet it is the Achaean’s persevering character that truly inspires me. Despite conflicting forces that beleaguer Odysseus, the hero triumphs at last. Circe’s and Calypso’s...

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