PRAPTHI JAYESH SIRRKAY
I moved here when I was pretty young; I lived in the UK and India before that. When I first moved none of my Indian friends went to my school or were close to my grade. In school, there was this whole issue with bringing Indian food for lunch and it’s an experience a lot of kids go through. It fed into my insecurities of not feeling like I was Indian enough but also not American enough.Growing up in the US, I have experienced many different attitudes towards “opportunity”.
It starts early where you're expected to always be doing very specific things at specific points in your life and I think it stems from societal pressures. You start to feel it when you're young and it becomes more and more prevalent as you get older. I was lucky to have found a group of people who didn’t believe that everything was a competition. With them, I could let my guard down and just be myself. I’m so thankful to have this group in my corner, even as I transition to college. An experience that I have had that is not very openly discussed among our generation has to do with American Immigration. The process is long and complicated; it is very difficult to attain appropriate greencards and visas. It impacts my family and many of my landmark life decisions. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t qualify for so many scholarships because I wasn’t a permanent resident. It has impacted my eligibility for opportunities like internships and research. Even after college, it will continue to affect the opportunities I have and the decisions I make. This is something that silently affects many in our community.
If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to internalize the saying “comparison is the thief of joy” and just to remind myself that everything will play out. Constantly comparing yourself to everyone around you is a fruitless activity since everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses and we all find opportunities that fit us the best. If we stop comparing ourselves to others and start focusing on ourselves and opportunities and passions that genuinely interest us, I think we will all be far happier!