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

One month before starting HBS, my mom suddenly passed away.

Her life was a rich tapestry of sacrifice and silent strength, where the splendor she wanted me to savor became my guiding star. Even with oceans between us, she encouraged my American dream with unwavering support. Only after she passed did I fully grasp the silence she faced without me.

Facing illness, her last days were spent spreading cheer among those who cared for her, always with a smile, shielding me from sorrow.

In the eyes of my mom, my achievements danced; in her courage, I found my own.

As I chase my ambitions, I vow to treasure the intimacy of shared vulnerabilities—the heartbeats behind each face in the crowd. For it is in the soft echoes of my mom’s wisdom that I've come to understand that life's worth is measured less by the summits reached than by the depth of the bonds we cultivate.

I will mirror her legacy, making each encounter a canvas for empathy. It is how I honor her—living deeply, authentically, making the ordinary a masterpiece of connection. This is the tribute I craft: a life where every soul feels seen, every story valued, a world softer for her touch.

— Yiwei Zhao