A Drastic Change

May 15, 2008
One often feels strange in a new environment, and sometimes it is necessary to change to fit into the environment. Changes are not always easy, and as for me, it brought about a whole new individual that was masked for thirteen years.
When I meant change, I meant drastic ones. How did a timid boy become a very active one? The American way of life, of course! Four years ago, my family and I moved to the United States as immigrants. I recall the first few months of life in the United States and the hardships that I faced: communication via the English language and the academics. I had been accustomed to British English as a student in an Indian school, and the usage of certain words puzzled me. Slang was almost incomprehensible the first time I heard it. It felt strange when a student came up to me and said, “Watsup?” and I had no clue on how to respond. I had made some friends over the course of the year, and they thoroughly explained each slang word and its meaning. Without knowing this, I would have used the wrong words at the wrong time. This barrier lessened as I started speaking the language.
Another obstacle that I faced was academics, but over time, I overcame it. I took an entrance test when I registered as a new student to the district and they placed me in regular classes. I strived to get the highest grades and never gave up. Some teachers, seeing my interests in certain subjects, placed my in honors. My honors classes increased in high school, and eventually, I began taking some Advanced Placement courses. Soon, I began excelling in academics, was honored at the Academic Banquet for three consecutive years, and was inducted to a few honor societies. As long as I did well in academics, my parents were happy.
When cultures clash, it usually calls for assimilation. And in my situation, when the cultures met, it became more chaotic. My parents were adamant that I stay closer to my Indian culture, but life as a teenager in the Americas screamed, “Assimilation!!” I had to find the perfect solution for the problem. I clung onto my Indian culture, but mixed into the melting pot of American culture. All Indian parents cared about were academics, so I excelled in academics as well as became more involved in extracurricular activities. I went from a couch potato to a volunteer at a local hospital, and I realized the value of hard work and money. By picking out the best qualities of both cultures, I have made my life into a mixture of both. This perfect solution was the product of careful planning, and ensured that there would be lesser conflicts.
Life in the Americas had a great impact and revealed my true potential as an individual. I resolved the clashing conflicts between two cultures, and now, I am one step closer to achieving my goals and dreams.

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