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Determination and Hope

October 22, 2016, Hong Kong, X:

“Stop writing. We’re now going to collect your answer sheets…”

At the end call of ACT test, I stared at my essay just finished seconds before. This is the second battle, and also the last one for me in this type of test. In April, I had floundered seriously in the Reading and Writing, and I should correct the stigma in this one.

Of course I need to. I have high n Ach.

November 26, 2016, San Francisco, California, A:

“You have got a new email.”

Oh, let me see who is it. Opening the mailbox, I see a new person, or presumably, a teenager who is going to show his talents. All right, I would save his file to my documents, just like other hundreds of thousands of people.

Every year during this time, I am supposed to get into this job, which is collecting information from people who are interested in the community I work for. I know that from the large bundle of individuals, there are gonna be a lot of “competitions”. It’s really not easy to get into our community, because I received really a lot of people’s information for me to pile. The number has been dramatically increased from about 150,000 during the first year of my work to more than 200,000 last years. Fortunately, only 5 days left for me to repeat this work. Whoops, there is another email coming here, let me see…

November 28, 2016, San Francisco, California, B1:

“You have got a new email.”

I open up the mailbox and see a letter. This letter is written by a person who is intended for our community. Wow, greetings! What a great word. So let me have a check. Haha, really, you think our email guide helped you, that’s good. Hm… oh, the problem about ACT, you say your April ACT score has already been sent you us, and you are going to send another score in October after it is released. OK, as long as you could order the report to our community before the end of the year, it’s my pleasure to update your new score. Wish you will get the satisfactory result and join our big family!

“Click, click. Reply.”

December 1, 2016, Shenzhen, Guangdong, X:

“The October ACT score has been released, would you like to have a check, X?” My friend asks me.

“I haven’t really notice about that. So well, I may get to look how much I got.” I pick up my phone, going to the website for the search for the score.

Oh, why my heart is bumping so quickly. Last time, in April, my score wasn’t happy with me, and I even did not cross the benchmark for reading section. Surely, this is the last chance for me to prove my individual power to conquer this test, and pursue my dream. I have reached my TOEFL goal recently, just for one battle; I won’t fail this time. OK, now the website is open, I scroll down the page and stare at the screen to make sure that there isn’t any error. Two bold digits have slightly appeared, they look like the same digit, and… wow!

As if my body is paralyzed, the intense emotion flow into my mind, I can barely see and hear anything. But just seconds later, I calm down.

“Congratulations, X, you really deserve that score.” My friend cheers about this result.

“Thank you.” I say. Nevertheless, I have to take immediate actions to send the score to my dear dream school. Time doesn’t wait for me. Tonight I will ask my parents to order a report to it and this report would get there much earlier before December 31, 2016.

December 14, 2016, San Francisco, California, A:

“A, here’s a letter for you.” my colleague says.

What’s it? During this time the workload is smaller and I have more relaxing time, though I still may get many letters each day. I slowly tear open the envelope and find an ACT score report. Confirming it’s from one of our applicants, I simply update his new score into the system. But, wait, he gets more competitive this time. I also see that before the letter arrives, his score seems really unfit for taking part in our community. I guess now he will have a better shot at the eyes of those “judges”.

So many talented youths in this generation.

January 18, 2017, Shenzhen, Guangdong, X:

“The rejection letters from two early schools had been for nearly one month. But, I’m not depressed, because I know I’m not capable of that so-called high rankings and high standards – they are not my love, and it was impossible for them to receive my October ACT report before making decisions.

“Besides, my classmates recommended me to register for an interview that is administered not by the universities themselves, but by a third-party agent. Participating this interview was said to enhance my chance of getting into my dream school. I did not think about how enormous effects the interview would brought to me, but if it really could have any bonus for my love’s admission, I would do what I can to best show my abilities in front of the interviewer, as well as the ones who would decide whether I could get into my first-choice.

“Actually, I knew seniors who were already freshmen in universities took part in this kind of interview and got into what they dreamed of. As a result, I asked about how the interview goes down, and the strategies for succeeding this process. I also regarded the preparation as an opportunity to improve my speaking. It is a good way to compensate for my disadvantage of slightly low TOEFL Speaking score. Not even bad during the first week winter vacation.”

So many thoughts come out, I really have to fight for this interview. Stay determined, OK, you can do this…

“X, it’s time for your interview.” the manager called me.

I stand up from the chair, walking straightly to the room for my interview. I greet the interviewer, who is an honest and kind woman. Sitting down, she begins asking me questions, “What plan do you have during this spring break (winter vacation)?”

“Well,” as the large pile of information flow through my mind, I suddenly remember a thing that has been scheduled for me just days after the interview, “I am going to play violin in theater…”

The answer sounds so fluent that even I could not believe what’s going on in my mouth. As expected, or unexpected, I talk about a lot of things that show great significance for me and for shaping my whole person. Academic performance, extracuricullar activies, and future plans … they seem really solidified into my unconsciousness that whenever mentioned, I would give out concrete responses. My dream is … bright!

Stay determined, and I will wait for you.

January 25, 2017, San Francisco, California, A:

“You have got a new email.”

Let me see … Huh, it’s him again. This applicant notifies me about his sending an interview video of himself, and his mid-year grade report is in here. So, I will just be sure to upload the new information into the system. Record his mid-year grades … Well, he shows something good for us again: his GPA seems to have a great boost compared to his performances during grade 11.

Anyway, time to go on working. After all, I cannot decide whether he will be into our community. But I still expect the “judges” will consider about him.

February 4, 2017, Kunming, Yunnan, X:

I am traveling outside during this winter vacation. Not to talk about the relaxation, but it’s also a great experience to break my new personal report – I had been on a mountain that is 4680 m tall.

Now in the hotel, I have nothing to do except playing with my phone. Suddenly, a news break out, there is a protest in UCB. Reading throughout the text, I contact one of my seniors who are now in that university with concerns about that incidence.

“I hear about a big event in Berkeley lately, does that really happened? I’m concerned about how you are affected.” I immediately send out the message.

A reply comes out minutes later, “Yes, you are right. Recently, our Berkeley college republicans invited a person who supports white male superiority to hold a hate speech. Then, students who were dissatisfied go through a dance protest, but during this protest, a group of masked and shielded people bursted out and used violence, making our school chaotic for a moment.

“But I’m not much affected by that, because there were many helicopters and policemen to maintain this situation, and my university quickly closed all the campus buildings and restaurants…”

What she says to me are dramatic, but realistic. On the other hand, even she can stay calm during this turbulent situation, and what she imparts me is, basically, that UCB is fine. After this wave of assault, it “still shines under the sunlight of California”.

“Thank you for your information. I wish you will be safe during the campus life.”

Would this incidence make my dream ramshackle? No, it would not. My senior has already let me know. I will still determinedly chase my goal.

February 26, 2017, San Diego, California, S:

“Aha, next I would like to discuss about this student.” I say to one of my colleagues.

“So what’s important about him, S? We got only about a few minutes.”

“First, he has a decently high standardized test scores and GPA, which already satisfy, and even exceed our requirements.” I point to the information file and explain, “Like in this test he is not so excellent in English language and art, but his STEM outcompetes nearly 100% test takers.”

“We got many of the similar students, keep saying.”

Next I look into his activites and awards, “You see, he has done a lot of researches into the field of natural science, and there are also interdisciplinary activities. His awards are also generally centered on the major he chooses for.”

“Um, so he has made a rational and decisive choice, huh.”

“What’s important is, he gives us with the interview video and attaches a virtual star to it. I take time to watch his response to the “notable” question, which also relates to his selected profession. So overall I think it is very probable for him to attend our school if he gets our admission. Besides, his score is not too perfect that otherwise he definitely will reject our invitation. So, do you agree to let him in?”

“All right, admission given. Two weeks later he will know about this happy news. Phew, it’s a gain if he really gets into our school. But we should also care about the restricted proportion of international students in our campus now.”

“Yeah I think so.” I ruminate about this problem a while, “Anyway, I guess he is also possible to get into one of the two “big” schools in our system. If that is the case, I will still be glad to offer him a hope of getting a small step into our big family.” I make a grandieur pose and exclaim, “Welcome to California!”

“All right, all right.” my colleague says, “Who’s the next one?”

March 12, 2017, Los Angeles, California, L:

I’m so tired recently, reviewing over hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of materials everyday. What happen to those applicants? It’s awkward for them to like all point to our campus for admission.

“OK, this student.” I languidly hand out another piece of material to my colleague for review. “Let’s see, he has a nice school performance, a good test scores, a list of what the ever activities, academic awards. Wow, he is kind of intriguing…”

“L, do you notice that our applicants become really strong that we hardly can make any decisions?” my colleague interrupts me.

“But we still have to make, it’s our job. Go on, personal statements … It’s not bad that he loves about biology and chemistry and I’m glad he gives us an interview video to show that. I think he is feasible for our school. What’s your opinion?”

“Surely. Just make it quick.”

“Yes, so … But, oh,” a slight hesitation, “I think he might choose that school. You know, I mean, that school. According to his selection for his academic major, he may get better at, still, that school.”

“So, what’s your opinion?”

“I think we may not offer him a chance into our school. Really, that doesn’t mean we don’t like him, but he is more likely to like that school. You see, he applies to chemical biology as his major, and we really could not has such great experience for him in UCLA. Again, in the face of college competitiveness, we shold not only consider about the quality of admitted individuals, but we also need to take care of our enrollment rate.”

“But isn’t that depressing?”

“I don’t know if this decision is distressful for him. But if I can, I really want to tell him he is already acknowledged by us. I did many similar decisions like that for him these days.”

“OK. Hope this student will get to UCB. Next one.”

March 15, 2017, San Francisco, California, B2:

“Hmm, so you say he is fit for us, B2? I don’t really think so.”

“But I think he’s very dedicated.” As I talk about X with my colleague, we make a really long debate about whether to admit this student. “Yes his standardized test scores are plain, but don’t you notice the pattern shown in his GPA? He is naturally good during his first year in high school, and he also shows a great strike during last semester. You shouldn’t take his grade slide last year before the striking semester as indicative of his unfitness. Besides, the list of activities has not reached a full capacity, but the time taken for each one is adequate enough for fulfilling his life. Therefore I think he has the potential to reach a high goal.”

“So what, he is even applying for the college that is lack of money and also rare of students. Is it good to give him such a precious seat?”

“I met so many students who decide to apply for a college that is said to be easy to get in, like College of Arts and Science. I don’t know, but I think his choice for College of Chemistry fits his abilities and experiences. You see he has good test and competition results related to biology and chemistry, with the exception of AP Biology Test, which I myself think it’s difficult. Additionally, Chinese students hardly choose to attend SAT Biology Subject Test, and among those test takers, hardly anyone can achieve that high high score. He expresses everything he devoted into these fields among all the contents, like his wetland investigation project, and devising of a new product. Even in the sent InitialView interview video, he explicates on his research and activity experience that closely links to the two disciplines, as well as his future plan.

“Oh, and he is not that strictly confined to academic studies, as proven by his experience of playing violin and making translation magazines, etc. Many of these things illustrate he is not a simple person. He is capable of bring the campus with a unique temperament.”

“Hm … your evidence almost persuades me.” my colleague confesses, “But how can you know he is keen on our Berkeley campus? We need to focus on restricted proportion of international students proposed by the state government as well as the proportion of enrollment.”

“Here is an important thing.” I open his InitialView file and show my colleague an object – a virtual star. “You have known that applicants who send us the star is greatly enthralled by our academic environments, as many predecessors said.” I pause for a while and get into deep thought. “Yeah, the star is a symbolization of a hope to getting into the community where the giver can achieve what he or she wants in order to ultimately promote the world’s development just in this seemingly small area compared to the entire surface of the Earth. In this place, people are arduously studying to strive for the personal and social betterness. He can take this mission. Yes, he surely can. How happy he would be to have the opportunity to be involved and welcomed to this community. X, do you hear me, you are a hope…”

“Hey, B2, what’s wrong with you? Are you okay?” My colleague shakes his hand in front of me.

“Oh, nothing. I’m just thinking about X. He should be admitted, don’t he?”

“Yes. You really take a lot of time to argue with me just for getting me to accept his fitness. I have no excuse to decline your hard work for him.”

“Thanks for your sincerity; I wish he will start his new life here, passing through the unforgettable four year undergraduate program … Now let’s progress toward to see the next applicant.”

“OK, let’s go on.”

March 31, 2017, Shenzhen, Guangdong, X:

Last week was my dear mother’s birthday. My family went for a happy dinner that night, talking endlessly about the life progresses of my parents and me. My father, being a proprietor of a company striving for three-party quality service, has now been busy for receiving orders from a lot of factories. My mother, being an engineer for the city landscape and hydrology of the city of Shenzhen, succeeds in leading a group of her peers to design a plan to treat a severe pollution in a river.

So how about me? My parents appreciated me for being a DIY student who, without the direct help of educational agent, had achieved several university admissions. Well, I myself thought this is not a big progress, because I have not reached my dream yet. Or, maybe I will reach it very soon.

It’s 12 o’clock now, I open the student portal of University of California, Berkeley. As the admission decision website slightly emerges from the screen, I cannot suppress my sudden surges of my sympathetic nerverous system’s response.

Calm down, calm down. I scroll down the page and I …

Congratulations! …

Is that real? I cannot imagine I finally reached this goal. Three years of dedicated thriving have proven me. Now, it’s time to tell my family about this joyful news.

Wait, my seniors say life there is very busy, and students need to finish a lot of assignments, projects, and researches. Can I endure the so-called “business”?

Why I can’t? Everything seems bright for me now.

UCB, here I come.

Aside

Launch a Project Experiment: Gibberellin and Brassinolide

AP Statistics Project Proposal

(It has to be an experiment, no observational study will be accepted)

Group members:

Name ID
Jiayi Liu 2014530054
Ziyi Wang 2014530070
Fan Xu 2014530268
Junhui He 2014530723
  1. Topic (What is the research question)

Comparison of the Effects of Gibberellin and Brassinolide on Soybean Seed Germination

  1. Sampling (Be specific about how subjects might be selected)

Randomly select 120 soybeans that are purchased from the same source.

  1. Variables:

Explanatory variables:

Type of plant hormone being used: categorical, no plant hormone (control), Gibberellin, Brassinolide, or both.

Response Variable: the height of seedlings after 2 days; the height of seedlings after 7 days.

  1. Treatment:

We have 4 kinds of treatments.

For the selected seeds, randomly assign them to different treatments, which is soaking the soybean seeds in specified solution for 12 hours. Each treatment has 30 seeds:

No plant hormone 10-6 mol/L Gibberellin
10-6 mol/L Brassinolide 5×10-7 mol/L Gibberellin + 5×10-7 mol/L Brassinolide

After soaking, transplant the seeds to soil. Water the seeds every 12 hours, take an account of the proportion of germinated seeds. Also measure the height of seedlings after 2 days and 7 days.

  1. What extraneous variables might influence the response?

Environmental factors, like temperature, light intensity, water, and even soil conditions all could have impact on seed germination.

  1. How does the design protect against its potential influence on the response through blocking, direct control, or randomization?

We would use preliminary experiment to ensure the optimal conditions for plant growth. Despite that, we would also apply:

Direct control: All the seeds are grown in the same room and are expose to the same environmental factors so that the extraneous factors’ effects are not confounded with those of the experimental variables.

Randomization: Randomly assign the seeds to different treatment groups to ensure that the experiment does not systematically favor one treatment over another.

Replication: There is considerable amount of individuals for each treatment to achieve an adequate number of observations for each experimental condition.

  1. Statistical method (e.g. we plan to use…method to explore … We hope to have a …result)

Normally, we would apply what we learned from descriptive statistics: Calculating important statistics, like the mean heights of seedlings, and representing them in the form of a bar chart for comparison.

For the part of inference, we plan to use two-sample t-test to explore whether there is a significant difference in the effects of different plant hormones in the heights of seedlings. We hope that there is significant difference so that we could have evidence to support that one plant hormone is greater in promoting germination than the other.

We also plan to use regression analysis to explore whether there is a linear relationship between the heights of seedlings after 2 days and those after 7 days for a specific treatment group, thus implicitly see if each hormone has prolonged effect.

The Reason, Process, and Meanings behind Gregor’s Transformation in the Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis presents a story about a man’s alienation from his family: Gregor, working arduously for his family, suddenly turns into a bug, and progressively gets abandoned by his parents and sister. However, beyond this abrupt event, Gregor already is a social “vermin” – justified by his inability to execute individuality; his transformation is, in my opinion, also a gradual process that not only symbolizes the changes in his perspectives toward his surroundings, but also the alteration of his family’s thoughts about himself.

Gregor’s transformation illustrates his problems about general isolation from modern society that put expectations to his hard-working. Long before Gregor turns into a vermin, he has wished to get equally well-treated with his colleagues and family members but fails. As Gregor says, “That’s all I’d have to try with my boss; I’d be fired on the spot. Anyway, who knows if that wouldn’t be a very good thing for me. If I didn’t hold back for my parents’ sake, I would have quit long ago.” (1.5), he is constrained by the working conditions that force him to get up early while seeing other workers enjoying their breakfast. Turning into a giant bug seems a fulfillment of his will to get rid of this job. In addition, he is the only one who can support the family, but after this transformation deprives him of the ability to work, every member attempts to expel him without considering his contribution, further suggesting his verminous position before the metamorphosis really takes place.

The establishing process of transformation stems from Gregor’s tedious lifestyle. Working as a traveling salesman, he can presumably get to know a lot of things from outside world. Instead, he complains that there cannot be long-enduring relationships with other people around this business. Besides, he cannot have the time like his family members to get relaxation from reading newspapers, playing music instruments, etc. Such monotonous life mode makes him distasteful, as depicted after his waking up: “His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lay quiet between the four familiar walls.” (1.2) Though Gregor is familiar with the room, he feels uncomfortable about it, as emphasized by the phrase “regular human room”.

Despite Gregor’s literal transformation, there are more, symbolically, transformations about his entire family. His father most directly shows the outrage toward Gregor, and as he returns to his job, wearing up the clothes, he regains the authority of supporting family and controlling Gregor’s will. His mother, being stunned by the moment as she sees the vermin, feels desperate about her son’s mishap but later turns in to suppress her anxiety. What’s more is about Greta’s transformation: “She had in fact noticed that Gregor needed plenty of room to crawl around in; and on the other hand, as best she could tell, he never used the furniture at all” (2.22). As Greta notices her brother’s needs, she comes to be more decisive in taking care of Gregor, accompanying the decrease of Gregor’s agency. This is even testified later when Gregor scares the boarders away, it is Greta who makes the ultimate decision to get rid of Gregor as the family is dealing with a kitchen bug.

Summing up all the points about the why, how, and what about his transformation, Gregor is unhappy about his situations, living with a verminous lifestyle. The transformation makes him lose respect and the ability to support family, but also changes the entire family’s roles, as exemplified by Greta’s increasing agency of making decisions.


Works Cited

“The Metamorphosis.” by Franz Kafka. Trans. David Wyllie. Sweden: Wisehouse Classics, 2015. Print.

Minded Statistics Mind Map

Mind Map

Recently, we had gone through all the materials covered by AP Statistics. As our teacher announced so far, we students, as separate groups, built mind maps to generalize the entire knowledge system inside the statistics class. I saw a lot of great mind maps from other groups that not only included the necessary things we have to know, but also demonstrated these things with innovative themes, like using some objects to allude to the processes of studying statistics.

The ideals and philosophy behind our groups’ construction were also clear. We separated the learned knowledge into four parts: Collecting Data, Exploring Data, Anticipating Patterns, and Making Inferences, with each part accompanied by certain structure of the plant body, while the plant itself is similar to we students, who are going to make our way to develop understanding about statistics.

The “root” – Collecting Data – is the basis of the entire plant. It is necessary to have good research methods in order to collect, analyze, and use the data we accessed, as root needs to absorb water and minerals from the soil so that the plant can grow taller.

The “stem and leaves” – Exploring Data and Anticipating Patterns – act as support for the plant. We have to harness statistical theories and methods to describe the overall data and predict the trends. Similarly, the stem structurally maintains the plant’s overall shape, where as leaves are required to make nutrients (sugars) through photosynthesis and transport them to the whole organism.

The “flower” – Making Inferences – could be regarded as a beautiful illustration of the plant’s characteristics. We need to infer from the accessed data to get evidence so that we could make conclusions. Like the determinate growth pattern of the apical meristem to floral part should be triggered by biochemical signals and environmental stimuli.

In fact, the plant we drew is a pea plant. It was used by Mendel to conduct research about genetics. Mendel utilized a series of statistical methods, like direct control of the variables, measuring the traits of pea plants, anticipating the probability of phenotypes, and checking his hypothesis using goodness-of-fit test. It was such these statistical methods that aided his generalization of the laws of inheritance. This event, on the other hand, enlightened us to sensibly harness our understanding of statistics and thus make contribution to the development of science, technology and society.

Hope all of you could finally get the “fruits” from statistics!