Personal Narrative: My First Step Into America

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My first step into America was on a freezing winter day, eight years ago. I had no idea how much that step would change my life. At the time, all I had heard was about the worsening pollution in Shanghai and relatives in San Francisco. I hadn’t realized that it was all for my benefit. My parents had given up their steady career to become cashiers, factory workers, and food preps, all to give me a new beginning in a new environment. It was a start that brought me many obstacles, but countless new opportunities. When I first arrived, it was a huge culture shock. Everything was different, and what was supposed to be normal was completely foreign to me. It was hard to form connections, especially because I kept moving to different parts of the…show more content…
My parents had signed me up for a media camp at BAYCAT, a program that taught youth filmmaking, music production, and graphic arts. Unhappy with my lack of agency I had in the situation, I remained stubbornly uninterested in the beginning. I remember spending more time thinking about my interviewer’s obviously fake eyelashes than the actual interview, but in the end, I found myself at BAYCAT for the summer, and eventually at every single class for the next four years. It was an exhilarating dive into a medium I barely knew about, and over the first 8 weeks, I learned to direct, film, and edit my first documentary, a short piece about street art in San Francisco. The process wasn’t easy, but I was happy with the hard work, especially after seeing the results of what I had accomplished. In sophomore year, my filmmaking instructor Zara showed the class behind the scenes of a film she worked on, and I was fascinated by the footage of her on the huge set, surrounded by professional actors and equipment and a brilliantly lit white screen. To be able to express myself through film, without the limitations of a small budget or lack of equipment, was something that would fulfill my wildest dreams. That was the moment I was inspired to pursue film as a

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