18 Things I learnt before I turned 18: Part 2


18 things I learnt before I turned 18. Graphic Credit: Katy Zhang

After a long wait, here is part two of “18 things I learnt before I turned 18”!

  1.  Learn and protect your heritage and culture.  Coming to the United States during my early-teens caused a lot of identity crisis in me. Even though I wanted to be different, the pressure of “fitting in” still followed me. However, as I continued to expand my view on the world, I realized that it is important to recognize your heritage and culture because it adds to my personality and truly completes my identity. Instead of attempting to get rid of my cultural identity, I would rather promote it and embrace it since it provides me a connection to my ancestors and their values. 
  2. Be willing to step up in order to make your voice heard. When in middle school, sometimes I was scared to speak up against things because I feared people would not accept and listen to my opinions. However, as I grew up and started participating in more group initiatives, I realized that it is essential to always speak up for yourself because you would never know if there are others that share the same opinion as you but refuse to speak up because they were fearing rejection. By breaking the silence, I felt free and I felt like even a small voice can make a difference.
  3. Think for yourself and form your own ideals of life. There are a lot of diverse opinions in this current world. As consumers of the current culture, we can easily be persuaded by voices aside from our own and become part of a bigger agenda that could be used as profit or weapon. Hence, it is always essential for me to solidify my own ideals and standard of the society in order to become more socially aware and less biased in controversial situations. 
  4.  People come and go.  Over the past few years of my high school life, I’ve gained a lot of friends and lost equally as much. I have to admit that part of me felt empty when they left my story of life, however, when I decided to look at those memories from another perspective, I learnt to accept the reality and always appreciate those friends that I have part ways with in my life because all of them were valuable to me and taught me a lot of lessons about life. 
  5.  Create memories with the world and people around you. When the pandemic hit, I finally understood why my parents always took pictures of me while traveling or at important events, because I regret not doing so with my friends that I haven’t seen from years or my relatives back in my home country. When scrolling through my photo albums, those photos always bring back diverse memories that make me feel extremely grateful for my life. 
  6.  Go vote. One of the most essential part of being an adult is to take initiative in the US political system. By casting vote in federal and state level elections, I’m able to participate in the democratic process and select leaders that can represent my needs and ideas which ultimately protects my interests and rights.