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So, Tell Me About Yourself

December 14, 2009

Starting Blocks student Toto Tumurbaatar talks to us about physics, family and his expierience in Starting Blocks so far.

by Mollie McWilliams

Toto Tumurbaatar always imagined that he would be a scientist one day, “something in the hard sciences.”  When he chose his science class last year he decided to reach for what he sees as the apex of all the hard sciences: physics. He’s not a fan of basing his work on assumptions so he is drawn to physics because “everything can be proven with math.” He is especially passionate about Aerodynamics and Mechanics, but also enjoys the study of light waves.

Tumurbaatar is now taking steps towards attending his dream school, the University of California at Berkeley and is also applying to San Francisco State University.  When asked what the Starting Blocks program means to him he explained that the workshops have helped him see just how important skills such as resumes and interviewing are and just how much work it takes to do a good job.  “Before this class” he explained, “I would have thought that writing a resume was no big deal, that it should take five minutes.  Now I understand what I really need to do”.  He also feels that the class has generally made him more prepared for life after graduation.  “You can’t plan everything in life,” he says,” but the class has helped me feel more prepared for whatever lies ahead.”

Like many applicants, Toto had to write a personal statement to support his college applications.  His personal statement told the story of his family’s immigration to the United States from his native Mongolia.  His parents came to the United States when he was three, leaving him behind to live with his grandparents.  Seven years later, he joined them in Berkeley, California where he had to learn English and adjust to a new education model where students take classes with different groups rather than staying with one small group of classmates all the way through high school.  When asked what prompted his family’s move, he responded “for a better life,” and provided his favorite quote, from Anna Karenina by Tolstoy: ”Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Now nearing graduation, Tumurbaatar is growing increasingly excited, and already has his graduation present picked out: a moped! As he gets ready to undertake the next steps in life, his advice to others is to improve the world by focusing on improving themselves by living up to a higher moral standard.  He believes this will lead to people being more understanding of one another.


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