Truth be told, I am not one of those kids who is absolutely certain that their life goal is to become a city councilor and write legislation. At this point in high-school, I’m not sure what I want to do, although I know that I want to help others. I have thought being a teacher, military doctor, you-name-it, as long as the job involves human-to-human interaction and the ability to help others. With that in mind, I applied to the Ward Fellowship because it emphasized public service and because I wanted to get my feet wet through experiencing a government job first hand. Surely there was more to government than bickering over laws and playing political football, as I saw on television everyday.
The other reason why I applied to the Ward Fellowship was because last year, I served as a volunteer for From the Top Arts Leadership. I, along with a group of other musicians, was able to be given the opportunity to teach at the Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury. Orchard Gardens was one of the 8 nationwide schools selected as pilots for Obama’s Turnaround Arts program, and we were able to help realize that program (although we weren’t part of the original change), going there every week in order to teach music. These sorts of actions, which are almost never on the front page of the newspaper, started to make me wonder what other unnoticed deeds the government does for the good of its people. Since I knew I wanted to help others and the government seemed to do that, I applied to the Ward Fellowship to see if a government job would be something that I would consider as a career or maybe exploring much more extensively in college.
The final reason behind exploring a government career involves my parents’ lives. My family is from China and both my parents were able to leave China to find freer and better lives in the States. My father so vehemently opposed the government that he was part of the Tiananmen Square protests and he has bore this anti-Communist-government sentiment with him across the Pacific. I’m not completely sure why, but this sort of family history makes me feel obligated to help others, so that others wouldn’t have to endure the hardships my parents went through. In addition, my parents were only able to carve out a living in the States because their host families (my parents came to the States on educational scholarships) were so welcoming and supportive. If they didn’t have this sort of support system, then they wouldn’t have been able to make it here. Although I don’t envision myself as President or a big name mayor, I do envision myself as a local leader – someone who is able to effectively carry out the orders and great ideas that the leaders of America come up with. If all the talented people enter Congress or the legislature, then there would be nobody left to carry out their ideas. Currently, working at the Massachusetts School Building Authority, I am doing a lot of filing papers, updating information, and much of the grunt work. Although some would consider it unfulfilling, I like to think of it as being a gear in the big scheme of things. If I don’t do the grunt work, then no matter the number of schools the MSBA funds, nothing would work because there is nobody doing the necessary paperwork. The want to help, in any way I can, made me want to try the Ward Fellowship. I feel as if public service would be right for me, although I wouldn’t be the sort to argue over politics in D.C. The female judge (I’m sorry I forgot her name) who interviewed me for the Ward Fellowship phrased it extremely well when I asked her how she got into public service. She said that she had a similar mindset, of helping others, but that public service wasn’t confined to government jobs. As long as you helped others in society, it would be considered public service.