Passion and Pride

Authors, Cathy Chen, Society

by Cathy Chen

As a speaker of three languages, I can honestly state that it wasn’t just determination that got me through —it was passion to learn and pride of who I am and who I wished to be.  Of those three languages, one is English, and another is Mandarin (Chinese).

I started learning Mandarin as a young infant, only one or two years old, as I was born in America but spent my toddler years in China, where, if you couldn’t speak the language of the country, you were disaster-prone. Years later, when I went back to America, I decided that just being able to speak Mandarin wasn’t enough. I needed to get a real education in the language of my ancestors. I went to Universal Chinese School (寰宇中文学校) where I learned to read, write, understand, and speak Mandarin. It was horrible at first, for I was so young in comparison to my classmates. I was only 6 at the time, and everyone else was 10 or older. I felt insignificant and very much wanted to give up, but my pride refused to let me.  It was a number, in the end, that really showed me what I am, who I am. I was the only one who got a 100% on the final assessment of the semester. It made me ecstatic.  I realized that I will never be an average student. From that moment on, I decided that if I could be the top of the class, regardless of my age, I would never let anything stop me, ever.

Today, having completed all the basic and intermediate books for Mandarin (1-12 grade levels), I am on the second book for the “College Level” books and I am the oldest student in my school (for there was no book higher than third book for “College Level”, which no one was in. I had attended the school consistently for nearly seven years.)


Simply knowing that even though I have Chinese blood flowing through my veins, yet I am still an accomplished student in America satisfies me.  I am confident that I will succeed later on in life.  I love to learn. Nothing can diminish or snuff out my love of learning.  There is so much knowledge for one to learn.  I am in no hurry to step off the train of life-long learning.



One thought on “Passion and Pride

  1. This is beautiful! 🙂 If I met you, I would definitely want to be your friend. You are clearly a person who cherishes her past in order to carry on through the future. I loved reading about who you are, where that comes from, and how it affects who you will become. Great job, and happy holidays/new year!

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