Tag Archives: freedom

Fight ON!

By Jennifer Sung

The moment I stepped foot onto our campus, three things stood out in bright Cardinal and Gold colors: anticipation, ambition, and anxiety. From day one, freshmen students are dropped into a rabbit hole filled with many other competitive and goal-driven individuals who’ve come to college prepared and ready to foremost play hard and of course, study hard. However, amongst the crowd, I felt different about college. As a first generation Korean American, born and raised in Los Angeles, going to a prestige university was a privilege: a dream come true.

However, with no schooling experience in my familial background, I struggled a bit on knowing what I wanted from my college experience. My cultural background roots deeply within South Korean and Argentinian culture, for my parents were both born in South Korea but then immigrated to Argentina at elementary school age. As a lower-class family , my parents managed to support and care for me and my younger sister, pushing us to strive for more, even though we had so little. They always reminded us to FIGHT ON! Unlike the stereotypical Asian American household, where the motto is “To be a doctor or not to be a lawyer”, my parents were different. By giving us the freedom and the right amount of push a child needs to strive for her goals, my parents helped shape us into what we truly wanted to be.

So, college was the trial and error stage of my life– where I once was the puppet of the scene, I am now the puppeteer of my play. In freshmen year, the ambitious part of me wanted more friends, more attention, more academic success, and mostly more sleep. To live up to the motto to “FIGHT ON”, I strove to join many organizations and jobs to widen my options for the perfect community and lifestyle I yearned for. For example, I joined APASA PEER, CIRCLE, Asian American Tutorial Project, KCCC, AABA, Circle K International, and TAO, along with holding three jobs. By the mid point of my first semester, I had so many responsibilities, socials to attend, people to meet, and basically the “more” I was searching for. However, one evening, a depressing wave of realization swooped over me to acknowledge that I was still on base one. I sheepishly followed my peer group, joining organizations and becoming socially immersed in the people around me, without noticing my self, deteriorating and crippling in lack of self-love and respect. The anticipation of going to college heightened my need to be more ambitious and thus, pushed me to a state of discontent.

In my sophomore year, I cut out less important organizations and focused on organizations and jobs that I actually enjoy and are beneficial to my future aspirations. All my effort went into my academics, research for psychology, AATP (Asian American Tutorial Project), and CKI (Circle K International). Later that year, I was surrounded by the community that I was desperately in search for. Instead of actively and aimlessly searching for a community of friends, I strived to find what my passion lied in: education, community service, and psychology.

Featured image from Wikipedia

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An Unexpected Lesson

By Meghna Sathiapalan

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, an experience of  immeasurable impact, has decidedly influenced the person I am today.  Having lived there for thirteen years, I have faced a lot and grown immune to some truths; particularly, the seemingly harsh customs and the repression women are forced to suffer. During the former part of my childhood, I hadn’t recognized the wrong in it; I studied in an American school, a bubble that the ultra-conservative Islamic influences left untouched. Inside school, I grew up as an average American teenager; I could wear whatever I wanted, express my views freely and never had to worry about any form of subjugation. However, any activity that required me to leave the school grounds and go into public meant donning the mandatory black graduation cloak-like piece of apparel known as the abaya, as well as an optional head-covering. I might add that the Saudi heat is quite intense, and wearing this garment really increases bodily discomfort. Just imagine having every drop of sweat stick awkwardly to your skin.

Soon enough, I grew sick of wearing the abaya, even for short trips to nearby grocery stores. Eventually, I got even more annoyed at how non-Muslim women were also forced to adhere to this custom, even though they didn’t even believe in the tradition.  Until about fifteen, I tolerated this, but around 16, that rebellious teenage spirit started to kick in.  I started to leave my abaya more open and let my headscarf slip back when I went out in the public world. It earned disapproval, even from my own parents, who just wanted to avoid trouble.  But I had had enough.  When most women in other parts of the world had the freedom to do as they pleased, why shouldn’t Saudi women have the same? Why do they deserve less? Also, the fact that Saudi women aren’t allowed to drive and hold jobs in the government amplified my anger. It was injustice.

“Women are just as capable as men,” I voiced to one of my conservative Muslim friends, “Why are they seen as inferior? Why do they even bother wearing hijabs (head covers)?” I couldn’t comprehend why this particular friend bothered wearing the hijab either and voiced my disapproval. Continue reading An Unexpected Lesson

Buried or Marinated?

By Amy Herrmann

 
“Would you rather be buried or marinated?” he asked me. There were six of us sitting on couches in a room adorned with a world map and whiteboard next to the writing center in Taper Hall. I had been a conversation partner for four years at that point: long enough that I had learned to effectively facilitate a thought-provoking discussion among students of diverse backgrounds, but short enough that it had yet to become boring.
 
I suppressed my laughter and replied, “Definitely marinated,”launching into a light explanation of the difference between being marinated and cremated so they would understand why I would rather be slathered in barbecue sauce than reduced to basic chemical compounds. We then resumed our more sober conversation about death and mourning rituals in different countries, exchanging stories and information about our respective traditions with curiosity.
Continue reading Buried or Marinated?