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On My Mind
December 2015

The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Child

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(12):1087. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.1924

I was born in the year of the Tiger to a Chinese Tiger mother.1 One summer afternoon, when I started watching the movie Independence Day before finishing violin practice, my mother ejected the video and smashed it against our family’s ancestral chest.

My preparations for medical school admissions began at the age of 3 years when I applied to attend the top Harvard-Yale-Princeton feeder school west of the Mississippi.2 For over a year, my mother prepped me for the pre-kindergarten admissions process, which included standardized testing, interviews with 2 teachers, an assessment with a third-party evaluator, and letters of recommendation from preschool teachers.

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