Colors of Life

Topic of Choice on the Common App.


Yellow - one of the primary colors. It is one hue; it is a million hues. Pale yellow, the color of silt in China’s River of Life; saffron yellow, the color of Chinese sovereignty for two millennia; tanned yellow, the tint of my skin.

The first day of fourth grade in America, I felt as if I stepped into an aviary full of white birds who chattered in a tongue that I could not comprehend. I began to regret and even resent my parents’ decision in moving here – nothing’s the same! From the hue of their skins and eyes, to their gestures, speech, activities, and even clothes! And so I embarked on an arduous mission toward conformity. In the second week, wearing my first Gap outfit, I strutted into my homeroom, assured that my clothes would garner acceptance and new friends. Instead, come lunchtime, I wandered amongst the throngs waiting for an invitation that never came. Likewise, I remember frantically trying to translate the deluge of English around me, and in turn, haltingly reply.

Puberty splattered crimson pimples on my face and murky shadows on my confidence. My awkwardness intensified as my family, during our first six years in America, moved six times to three cities. But to lessen my parents’ worries, I often hid my...

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