I know I’m graduating… Junior year has officially gone.
One more year and I’m done. And what is done is my degree, not my learning journey. Thanks to my liberal education in the States, I have learned the harsh truth about uncertainty. There is only one thing that is CERTAIN and that is it, UNCERTAINTY.
There is thing you know you don’t know and there is thing you don’t know that you don’t know.
I didn’t know I would be graduating in the midst of political chaos that could determine and change the whole course of history. Another war with China after thousand of years is the least possible outcome but it doesn’t mean it can’t be.
I didn’t know I would be graduating at the perfect time to be an entrepreneur. Technology innovation enables individual to accomplish so much and problems are everywhere, giving birth to endless opportunities.
I didn’t know I had to redefine and reconstruct myself so many time when any event challenges my belief and knowledge about this vast changing world. What it means to be a Vietnamese, a global citizen, a daughter, a sister, or simply a GOOD person.
That summer I came home after Paris, the world was spinning around and I almost lost my root. I had cultural crisis ? Maybe. What I had was reverse cultural shock. I could not adapt to whatever had nurtured my entire 18 years back home. I didn’t say I was going to New York, I said I was returning to New York after summer. I couldn’t bare my family politics. I couldn’t bare the heat and I couldn’t bear the dependent lifestyle because I had to follow others’ orders and duties. Maybe I was over-thinking and over-exaggerating… I was studying my parents, judging them and analyzing what worked and what didn’t as if they were real case studies of modern family crisis. It was not a crisis (but close). They were like countries living next to each other, used to be one, now separated with a peace treaty signed on and off several times.
Then I went through another year of transformation after returning to the US and relocating to New York instead of dorming to save cost. Life was hard if you travel 2 hours or more on a daily basis to school, search for internship and cook your own meals but after all, one learns how brave it is to handle life with dependents. I couldn’t imagine how my parents could feed me, my sister and my brother this far. I spent a lot. Sorry dad, whenever I was depressed, if I dorm, I would sleep but since I was in New York, I went out. Korean Town and Hell’s Kitchen were only 10 minutes on foot. The overwhelming city helped me value what was my root. Thank to the food, the internships, the corporate culture, the rich kids, the homeless people, the late trains, I soon realized I could never free myself if I kept looking for things and values that didn’t give me real joy and the right purpose to live. Not fame, not money. I quit my internships. I stayed home watching ancient history, studying for finals and dining out alone to find space for myself.
It seemed normal but it wasn’t. The most brutal battlefield is one’s inner self. You can have tons of things going around, thousands people killing and many countries fighting each other but that doesn’t affect you much until you battle your own fight. The fight among what values to accept and pursue and what to push back. Well, I accepted whoever and whatever that brought life to me even though I didn’t want to be born which was the hardest thing to accept.
What is the right thing to do is the hardest question. And yet, there is no universal answer. Don’t ever ask me what to do and expect a definite answer. That’s IMPOSSIBLE and UNREASONABLE. Things are not the way they are. They are what we construct and expect them to be, meaning if we change, things change accordingly. I’m not trying to preach anyone. It’s just me, telling my personal story and whoever reads it may find it sympathetic and ease them anyhow.
Don’t look for me for solution. I’m the problem and I’m fixing it myself, not the solution to your own problem. It’s you who saves yourself. Not the mighty Gods.
Well, I’m officially a rising senior which is also another hard truth to accept…Next year, this day will mark the beginning of another crisis of a post-graduate, perhaps.
Oh lord. Please, register my courses in Italy so that I can apply to the holy visa as soon as possible…
-New York, 16/05/2014