February 17, 2016

I'm 17


I'm quite sure a majority of youth within the ages of 16 to 18 can definitely relate to this. Going to an academic school for the last few years, I constantly felt as if I'm not doing enough, not trying hard enough in school and in my community. It has only been of recent that I've started to become more comfortable with my own expectations, with creating my own expectations.

To fully explain the reasons behind the confusion and frustration of the past few years would involve telling my entire life story, which in all honesty, I don't want to do. However, I think it suffices to say that I grew up in a society and culture that set out high expectations for me. Both my parents being immigrants from China, many people expected, and still expect my brother and I to excel at school, get a good job, marry a good husband or wife, and have kids.

Growing up, I loved receiving compliments from aunts and uncles about how good of a daughter I was, about how smart I was, about how successful I would be, and soon I started taking these compliments as people's expectations for me to be a good daughter, to be a good wife, to be a successful woman married to a husband, all very traditional. Without realizing it, their expectations became my own.

I go to school with intelligent people: students who are involved in clubs and councils, presidents or chairs of clubs and councils, people who excel in sciences, writing, art, and some who are so driven that they constantly think they are better than everyone else, which drives me to further live up to all these expectations that others had set out for me, and expectations that I had set out for myself. 

It has taken a while to finally become comfortable with who I am: a 17 year old girl who may or may not want to get married, live in a comfortable house and have children, a girl who enjoys playing piano but does not want to pursue it as a career, a girl who may not be "pursuing her dreams" but does not know what those dreams are, taking business as a means to still live up to those expectations to find a viable career, but at the same time finding a certain excitement in the field too, a girl who is finally deciding what is best for herself, whether they are for or against what people expect from me.

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