“Rebel without a cause.” Sound like a cool nickname or a rock song, right? Wrong. For me, and other girls like me, it was how I was know within my family. To them, forging my own path in life, making mistakes and learning from them in my own time, and wanting to express myself via writing, music or anything else creative, was going against the grain of our family. My love for writing triumphed over a love for STEM and I chose wanting to be a lawyer instead of a doctor or an engineer, and thus made me a rebel. I tried for years to push my own true passions away and make myself like other members of my family, but in all honesty, I hated it. I felt like a fraud. Going to college and meeting people who seemed to have such a control over their own lives pushed me to find what I wanted to do regardless of what my family would think.
I finally allowed myself to take classes my parents never would have wanted me to. Beginning my journey of getting to know myself. My journey has been a long one with ups and downs and it will be a long one, but I’ve finally realized what I want to do in life and how I will get there. However, I still feel the need to “ask for permission” or baby step my parents into my thoughts on how I would like to go about my future endeavors. While I understand they have their opinions and they don’t want me to take years off of school and get comfortable with a nice check coming in and such, I have to live my life on my terms. I take their advice under consideration, but I will ultimately make my own decision, and that’s what seems to upset them. It’s like they forget I have my own mind and own thoughts.
I feel this is true for a lot of children whose parents were not born in America and came here as immigrants. They all have this survival mindset and this striking fear of the unknown that they end up stifling a lot of their children’s dreams. They want their kids to go through college, get a practical degree, and then get a job, then get married and have kids. While that may be fine for some people, it’s never worked for me. I like to try new things, I enjoy pushing myself to learn about other possible ventures, I enjoy creative things and could even see making a career out of things my parents deem as “hobbies.” There is a stark difference between our thought processes that sometimes it’s challenging to show them where I’m coming from.
I don’t know the exact science, or if there will ever be an exact science to trying to get your parents to see your point of view, but I’ve definitely found a way that works for me. I follow the advice of the legendary Nike slogan and “Just Do It.” For example, when I wanted to start a blog about my life and my experiences, I knew they would not approve, so I did it anyway and told them later. When I wanted to change majors from Biology, I took classes that I found interesting and chose Political Science instead of another STEM pathway, before going and telling my parents what I wanted to do. I’ve realized that I need to make decisions for myself and not worry about what others will think. Because, not everyone’s path in life is the same. We’re all different. We all have different definitions of success. And, we all have different ways of achieving the lives we want.
So why not choose for yourself? I’m done letting some stigma people have about me hold me back from reaching my potential! Stop letting what others think you should do dictate what you do. Everybody will always have their input on your decisions, that’s just how people are, but that does not mean you have to take their unsolicited advice. Keep what advice you like and discard the rest. You know what it takes for you to succeed, so just do it! Take that leap, apply for that job, move out, fall in love, just do it for yourself and no one else. It’s your life, so make it TRULY yours.