Is this really who I am?

Vikram - Austin, Texas
Entered on September 26, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in following your heart and breaking from the beaten path.

“Hey you’re that smart kid, right?”

“What gives you that impression,” I replied amused and somewhat irritated.

This happened once or twice every year. After all, I was attending Westwood High School: The Intelligent and Hard Working School (Full of Asians and Indians). It’s not that I’m stupid or anything. It’s just that it annoys me that everyone assumes that I’m extremely smart. By the end of that summer, I resolved to push the stereotype, that all Indians are smart, introverted, and are constantly working, right out the window.

In the summer before junior year, I attended a debate institute in Lansing, Michigan. First impressions meant a big deal to me. I wanted the people at the camp to remember me as someone unique and different from everyone else. I was tired of blending in as one of those Indian kids; it was my time to shine.

The first day, I spent most of my time with my classmates from Westwood. We hung out and prepared for four weeks of dorm life, away from home and away from our parents. But soon, I wondered what I was doing. Is this how I wanted to spend 4 weeks of camp, with my friends that I would be seeing for at least 2 years more back in Austin? I decided to forge my own path at the camp and made the decision to separate from my usual gang. Wandering around, I soon noticed a group of five playing volleyball outside in a small sand court. “Got room for one more,” I asked while walking up to them.

Soon, a friendship grew between these five, what I found out to be, Chicago sophomores. We played cards every night after class and when that got boring we started playing soccer outdoors. The adventurous group, known as Chicago, would go on nightly outings taking me with them. Our trips covered everything from frolicking and cartwheeling across a lush green lawn to jumping and splashing in a garden fountain. I enjoyed every minute of it. No matter how tough the day was or how many arguments I had with my friends, I always had a smile glued to my face at the end of my day.

In the end, I managed to distribute my time equally between my old friends and new ones and soon my old buddies came to realize that I was more extroverted than I seemed. My best friend considered me a “gallivanter” and even though things were a little rocky between us at camp, we still maintained a strong bond. By the end of camp, I am glad to say that I maintained a friendly and close relationship with every one I met. I indeed made a name for myself at camp showing everyone that not all Indians are the social introverts they are depicted to be. In following your heart and breaking from the beaten path; this I believe.

In the summer before junior year, I attended a debate institute in Lansing, Michigan. First impressions meant a big deal to me. I wanted the people at the camp to remember me as someone unique and different from everyone else. I was tired of blending in as one of those Indian kids; it was my time to shine.

The first day, I spent most of my time with my classmates from Westwood. We hung out and prepared for four weeks of dorm life, away from home and away from our parents. But soon, I wondered what I was doing. Is this how I wanted to spend 4 weeks of camp, with my friends that I would be seeing for at least 2 years more back in Austin? I decided to forge my own path at the camp and made the decision to separate from my usual gang. Wandering around, I soon noticed a group of five playing volleyball outside in a small sand court. “Got room for one more,” I asked while walking up to them.

Soon, a friendshuip grew between these five, what I found out to be, Chicago sophomores. We played cards every night after class and when that got boring we started playing soccer outdoors. The adventurous group, known as Chicago, would go on nightly outings taking me with them. Our trips covered everything from frolicking and cartwheeling across a lush green lawn to jumping and splashing in a garden fountain. I enjoyed every minute of it. No matter how tough the day was or how many arguments I had with my friends, I always had a smile glued to my face at the end of my day.

I managed to distribute my time equally between my old friends and new friends and soon my old buddies came to realize that I was more extroverted than I seemed. My best friend considered me a “gallivanter” and even though things were a little rocky between us at camp, we still maintained a strong bond. By the end of camp, I am glad to say that I maintained a friendly and close relationship with every one I met. I indeed made a name for myself at camp showing everyone that not all Indians are the social introverts they are depicted to be. In following your heart and straying from the beaten path; this I believe.