My whole life, I’ve been pushed by my parents to be someone else.
I loved writing and was involved in – at one point – four editorial publications in high school, but was consistently looked down upon by my dad for doing that. I liked reading books while my dad said reading books is not useful because they are long and outdated (and that I should read articles instead). I liked fashion design while my parents said that’s a waste of time and that if I had spent it studying for the SAT’s then I could be in Berkeley now instead of USC (even though I really don’t think USC is “worse” than Berkeley.. and USC probably fits me better..)
Everything I do is “wrong” for some reason.
But it was only recently that I realized that everyone has interests, is a real human, and has a right to be interested in what they’re interested in. I know that is a very obvious statement to most people, but I didn’t fully understand that till now.
I never really talked to or was friends with people from Ivies or prestigious firms. I only saw these people from social media, particularly Linked In, and all of them seemed like “Gods” who were so perfect they must not have any problems with their lives. I didn’t understand until this summer, when I am first the first time, exposed to so many talented people – Stanford PhD’s, MIT undergraduates, Researchers, Scientists, CEO’s – you name it.
Yet, these seeming “Gods” are also real people with friends, families, their own problems, and their own wacky interests and quirks. A business development representative at work is a part-time DJ; one of my roommates is super into Indian dance; McKinsey consultants go to the gym. I know this seems so obvious and almost like I’m condescending these smart people, but I really didn’t know everyone was so normal with normal lives.
I also learned that people’s value is also not only measured by what company they worked at or what school they went to, but also who they are as a person. That was very surprising to me, because my parents constantly rated me (and everyone around me) based on 1. their education or 2. if they are less well-educated, then their personality or looks.
Only now do I understand that I have a right to be who I am, and I am not any less “worth” than the Google employee (at least in terms of non-monetary value). I have a right to be interested in creative writing, and I do not have to be ashamed of liking to read fiction, or being super weird sometimes.