What the Future Is

When people think about the future, they think about a better job or money.

I think about being true to myself and being happy with it. This is something I’ve always struggled with. To understand my situation, one needs to understand that I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. It was my home for many years until my parents decided to move us to a strange country called “America.” I had heard things about it, of course, and some of my relatives even lived there, but I wasn’t interested in moving at all. Now, everyone knows that moving to another country means some kind of cultural shock because one needs to learn that country’s language, start at a new school, meet new people and visit many new places.

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Unfortunately I didn’t realize just how hard it would be on me. I was really introverted, so I didn’t make friends easily. To my classmates, I was this strange Asian girl who couldn’t spell her own name or complete even the simplest spelling test. This made me a prime target for the school bullies, and my grades were in the toilet. I was officially a Korean-American now, but I didn’t feel American in the slightest. My parents encouraged me to stick it out, though, and they were always there for me whenever I needed help.

I started studying harder than ever, so I could catch up with my classmates. I stayed up all night trying to memorize as many vocabulary words as I could. Gradually I started to understand that my teacher wasn’t an alien and that the bizarre language she was speaking was actually making sense. I started earning A’s and became a part of Honor Roll every semester since middle school. New friends followed soon after. Going to college will be an important step in my journey, not only because I will have a better future, but because I can show that I can handle any and all challenges and be successful.

I didn’t give up my Korean identity. Instead, I just added an American part to my identity, and I’m happy with who I am.