This I Believe

Harman - Chesapeake, Virginia
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I think I realized in high school that I am just not the “same” as the rest of my family. I was more interested in my creative writing classes than AP Biology. Instead of coming up with ways to win the science fair, I was busy thinking of ways to put a cultural show together for the community. Instead of figuring out which schools have direct medical programs, I was researching which schools had the best dance teams. I have always enjoyed the creative side of things, including organizing events and writing for the school newspaper. My parents ignored it and thought I would “grow” out of it and still become a doctor like everyone else in my family. My mother wanted me to have the education and the ability to be independent; something she never had. My dad thought of it as common sense, a way to master the sciences as a “fool-proof” American dream formula and live a more than comfortable lifestyle. Then there was me, a polar opposite.

I do believe in the value of education, family, and earning the respect of family and those around you. Yet, I believe in exercising the right of making your own choices. I believe men and women are equal and that both genders should have equal opportunities in everything they pursue. I do not think that because I am a girl, I should act shy or not speak up when I have my own opinion. I do not think that embracing the “American” culture makes me “Westernized.” I do not think going against the norms of Indian society makes me “wild.” Most importantly, I do not think becoming a doctor is the solution to all of life’s problems.

Instead, I believe doing something that you are passionate about is the true solution. I think speaking my voice makes me stronger. Believing in my dreams gives me hope. Having a proactive approach helps me see the results I want. I think America is a great place to make your dreams a reality and the power is within everyone. When I think of all of the things my older family doesn’t believe in, I take a second and think. Didn’t they come here as well to make their individual “dreams” a reality? The answer is yes so why should my “dreams” and ambitions not be fulfilled? Not so long ago my younger cousins asked me, “You are so strong; we wish we could be like you, how do you do it?” They all had their own dreams but did not dare confront their parents about pursuing anything other than medicine. That is when I realized, by my parents coming to America, they had given us the opportunity they never had, the ability to have their individual dreams, which was the first step. Now, in order for my cousins to have the opportunity to make their dreams come true, I had to take the next step by achieving mine.