Friday, December 3, 2010

Some Reflections on my High School Experience

It is very difficult to compare my high school experience with anyone else's experience. Even when events occur at the same time and the same place, since individuals each have a unique personality, they will have totally different feelings and responses to the events. I was once watching an American TV program which described what a group of 14 year old boys were thinking. The conclusion was that "they are all thinking about being 15". I said to Janice that that would be the last thing I was thinking about when I was fourteen. I was thinking about basketball and swimming! A friend in the US once asked me if I was thinking about girls when I was in high school. I told him, no, we did not think about girls until after we got to college (after all, college was co-educational). For sure, the "social" development in Chinese youth was generally much slower than that of youths of the same age in the western world. In school, I did what I was told most of the time. I was not trying to be the best at anything because I did not know what I really wanted. One thing, though, I did not like to lose! I liked music, but everyone told me that you could not use it as a profession to support yourself. Since I was pretty good in mathematics, I thought about trying science and engineering – which were thought at the time to give one the best possibility of finding a job. You do want a job, don't you? I am sure that young people in the US also struggle to try to decide what they want to do. They have some trends to guide them and to give them some hints. But everything changes so fast, no one can predict if there will be job for them when they graduate from college, sometimes with a huge debt. It is definitely much harder to grow up in a poor family, now or fifty years ago! Of course, we were very poor fifty years ago, but everybody was poor then.

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