Final Essay Unit 1

Brandon Ma


Dr. Hall

English Composition 2

 Ethnicity overwhelming grip

Have you been intimidated by someone in your life before,if it may be your family members or even your classmates? Coming from a Asian background, it was really difficult for me to be happy with myself, being identified as a Chinese American. I grew in a community that always  compare their grades with each other, it put a lot of stress on myself on wanting to prove myself. For a stereotypical Asian family, they are expected to excel in academics and is known for their dedication to learning. A quote from Mother’s Tongue, “Well, these are broad sociological questions I can’t begin to answer. But I have noticed in surveys — in fact, just last week — that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math achievement tests than in English”(Tan).  Being Asian, I was expected to  excel in majority of the subjects in school, especially math. However, I wasn’t able to reach that academic standard that is perceived by others such as my family,peers and teachers. I struggled with all subjects- even math,  I was even given a letter notifying me that I was in probation and I needed to change. I was never a book worm, nor did I had passion in learning as it dissipated throughout the school years. Being yelled by my family, especially my father, for doing terrible in school had changed me in many ways. One effect that it had on me was my perspective in school, I lost interest in trying in school for the main part. I even was sent to these programs that are suppose to provide extra assistance to English and math called “Kumon” that was located next to my elementary school. I would always remember being put under a lot of stress to the point I had many mental breakdowns. It was hell to the point that I was told this, “you are unable to leave until you get a 100% on this quiz”. I was there from 4 pm to 6 pm, constantly re-doing this quiz, it was just me and a few others after their closing hours still doing these last parts. I became so frustrated  that my paper was covered in tears. Of course I went against my parents for taking me to this program because I wasn’t able to learn anything but constantly failing and not rising through “Kumon” levels. Going to programs like these never helped me in ever learning in a way that I can appreciate affecting my interests in even trying to learn. Struggling through elementary school and middle school, high school is when everything changed. Going into a new environment, with a lot of diverse backgrounds was very intimidating at first. But as time moved along, I adapted and appreciated the people who I met, where I don’t compare myself to others too much.  I had a very diverse group of friends that consist of 1 Ukrainian, 1 Ghanaian, 1 Hispanic, 1 Ecuadorian, and me- Chinese. I learn the traditions that they follow, and broke some ethnic barriers within me. Though going into high school, my friends had assumed that I was smart only because I was Asian and the only Asian in my grade, instead of actually getting to know me. They even use “your Asian, this math is easy for you”, while there are some social norms that can never be broken, not everyone is the same. In my high school, students were encouraged to learn at their own pace because everyone has different needs. Though some negatives were  classes had to slow down, thus some units in the year had been removed by the teacher. The sense of community that I shared with my peers in high school was more appreciative because I wasn’t worried about my GPA if it was terrible or good because of the acceptance they give. The workload had decreased between middle school and high school. Even though I was told from middle school, “high school is very difficult and you will be doing lots of work”. The teachers made it more stressful that it really was because I hardly get homework in high school. From my perspective, I always thought the teachers want more students to appreciate life and not constantly going home and doing homework all night long for the deadline due the next day. So I had a lot of free time to hang out with my friends and wasn’t bound to my school. In conclusion, there is more to life that just packing your brain with information that will show you’re intelligent to the social norms. From what I experienced,  to be smart is the amount of information one can hold. So people who usually sleeps in class like my two my friends, still passes their classes with A-‘s or B+’s. I appreciate  the friends that I had made in my high school year because they were the ones who helped me mentally, and not think too much about school. 

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