Nationality and You

Nikolina - La Grange Highlands, Illinois
Entered on September 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Nationality and You

Nationality is the status of belonging to a particular nation, whether by birth or by heritage. Your nationality draws you to a place where you feel you are tied to and that has a place in your heart. It also tells the story of your ancestors and the people that made it possible for you to be sitting in you seats right now. I believe that nationality plays a major role in who you are and who you will become.

Along with each nationality comes a significant culture. I am a hard core Croatian and we have very different cultural beliefs than a German, Cuban, or an American. We eat different foods, listen to different music, and have different outlooks towards everyday life. Since we are so different, our characteristics and attitudes may seem strange to other cultures, just as we may see other cultures strange as compared to ours. It is very hard to hold on to your native culture when you live in a society that teaches and influences just the opposite. I speak from experience when I say that living a life where you are taught something at home and it is frowned upon at school or in the public eye makes it hard to find a midpoint for both cultures.

I am a very emotional person so when I am sad everyone knows it and when I am angry or happy everyone knows it because I wear my emotions on my face. When I have something to say I say it whether the person is happy to hear it or not. I have lived in the United States my entire life so I have picked up on the fact that the majority of people here mask their feelings or keep their thoughts a secret. So when I was upset with one of my friends I confronted her and told her that I didn’t like what she was doing and that it wasn’t right. She was extremely surprised that I would stand up to her and tell her how I felt. I was not the only one feeling that way but no one else wanted to speak up. I knew, by the way I was brought up, that if I didn’t say anything I would be disappointing myself and my culture.

My family is the most important thing in my life. They have taught me everything I know and influence my every decision. I have taken a part of all of them and created the person I am today. From my mom I have learned that life is too short to argue or hold a grudge. Her life wasn’t long enough to teach me the rest, but this lesson will go on in my heart forever. My dad has taught me that you have to fight for what you believe in no matter how hard or how many obstacles you have to pass through. You have to take responsibility for yourself because no one else will. From my grandparents, only hard work and persistence will get you far in life because no one will hand you your dream. And most importantly from my sister, who has surprised me the most, taught me that you have to look into the future with a smile on your face and a positive thought in mind and all will come easier to you.

So when I say that nationality is a part of you I really mean that, because socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically you are who you are because of your ethnic background. It is a part of you, and your parents, and your grandparents and all of your ancestors that have created you and hopefully your children one day.