“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My mom travels with a frying pan. A fifty-cent yard sale purchase, the pan makes the world's best banh xeo, a Vietnamese dish. To most people, the grease-stained sides and wobbly handle suggest nothing more than an unexceptional piece of cookware. But to my parents, the pan is a constant reminder of the sacrifices and challenges of starting life in a new country; to me, it is evidence of just how much we can accomplish.

I plan to live my life humbly and hungrily, always seeking to serve the world around me. In my personal and professional lives, I will take the time to get to know individuals. I will try to figure out what their stories-their frying pans-are. In particular, I will reach out to individuals whose stories might never be heard due to poverty or unequal access to education. I will listen and I will act. Like my parents, I will create opportunities, not just for myself but also for those around me.

And as I help others strengthen and share their stories, I will continually consider my own, being careful not to plan too much. It's the challenges and surprises of life that make stories worth sharing.

— Anh M. Nguyen