Your environment

October 25, 2009

After having read several of my documents from my Junior Statesman Summer School Program, I came to a realization. Your environment plays a huge role on the way you live.

Compared to the dorm life at Stanford, home is so easy-going. At home, in Saipan, I am able to do whatever I please, whether it be indulging in music on my seat in front of the computer or walking to the store “next door” for chips to eat in front of a television. There are no worries, no stressors, and nothing that requires your focused attention. There are also not many people around you doing something different. When I’m at home, I’m at home surrounded by others who are at home, doing what they please, and living life as they like, despite whether or not they trample upon other people’s assumed freedoms.

But when you’re at summer school, living on your own, without your parents or the comfort of having your belongings from home, you’re in a different environment. You are not expected to take care of yourself at home. At home you have your parents who are continually concerned and thinking about you and about everything you do. But at summer school, you have no one but yourself. Sure your dorm mate might be somewhat concerned but that is likely not the case. So I learned at summer school. I learned when I couldn’t focus and brooded in my own self-pity of not being able to make friends, shutting myself off in the corner of my room on my bed, listening to music, while the overwhelming majority of [other] students partied all night long at the dance. I also learned when I picked my feet up off the ground and decided to move – decided to take steps toward something I wanted, rather than suffered from sedentary pitifulness. I learned that I needed to move – to take action – to get something I wanted. And this was not ONLY because I was living alone, but because the people around me were doing it. At Stanford, I was surrounded by a group of friendly, gregarious intellectuals who wanted not much else at the summer school but to make friends. So I arrived at Stanford a young and vulnerable individual. I came out somewhat more knowing, more capable, and more deliberate with my actions.

Then I came home. And school started. And I was not surrounded by those people anymore. And thus returned the comfort of doing as I pleased, just like everyone else around me. I was not forced to think for myself anymore, to be accountable for what I do and do not do, to take responsibility to take the precautions in order to make my life more pleasing form myself.

As I came into school, I was open to making friends, because the summer school taught me to – that you have something to learn from others and ways to benefit. So started school at Saipan International School open to new relations and friendships. I had a lot to share, and my classmates either had nothing to share back with me, or did so in a somewhat negative or unopen manner. This took a toll on all of what I had become at the end of summer school, and gradually the environment that school in Saipan provided me began to bite off my confidence and all of what I learned was good in Stanford. It reacted with me and resulted in gradual decay. At Stanford, I learned that hard work and political involvement was not only good but necessary; although, in school at home (Saipan), I realized otherwise – that hard work and political involvement is a good way to distance yourself from your classmates who could be your friends. At Stanford, I learned that friendliness and openness is a good way to share experiences with others and to make friends with them; although, in school at home (Saipan), I realized otherwise – that friendliness and openness is just a way to brag about your summer experiences (the experiences you’re classmates didn’t have) and to be an outsider among your classmates.

For some reason, the more I act like myself at school, the more I seem to distance myself from my classmates. This is because I consider acting myself to be positively engaged with academic studies at school. But as with my classmates, academic studies are the reason they hate school, and everything involved with it.

But I’m human. I want friends, and it’s not easy to make friends outside of school. I try desperately to see and understand my classmates’ perspective and point of view, thinking that I may hopefully find a study partner as a result. But they don’t even read. They don’t read. They don’t do their work all the time. They cheat sometimes. They don’t care. School is nothing to them. School is shit to them…

I still try to make friends. Eventually, I become friends enough to lose my focus. To evolve into one of them. Laugh at the same perverted things they laugh at, talk about the same hateful things they talk about, think about the same self-centered things they think about. [I know I should have stayed on topic about environment but this is more important for me to express.] So I have lost my focus and direction. I have adopted the direction they have in order to make friends with them. I wished they could do the same for me when I act like myself. But that’s not aligned with their philosophy in life.

So I give up. I don’t need them as friends anymore, if I have to sacrifice my goals and aspirations for my future. It’s time I cut the string… in order to be realistic. I cannot be friends with everyone. Not all people get along well, no matter how much they try to. Some point of views just can’t coexist with each other. If time was endless and what I did in the present did not so greatly affect my future, then I could most definitely befriend those who take a dramatically different perspective on life from me. But time is not endless, and the present affects my future in ways I cannot even comprehend.

Let me never completely forget what I learned at Stanford, that hard work and political involvement is a good thing… that friendliness and openness really is a good way to make friends. Let me store it somewhere in my head, so that I may retrieve that knowledge when a positive environment asks of it from me. But as I go to school at Saipan International [School], I shall rid myself of this communal consciousness shared by my class as a whole. I live to learn; not learn to live. I love for people, people do not live for what I can get out of them. Despite how much Capitalism promotes “breaking the rules” or “beating the law,” I will not succumb to such a lowly notion.

Let me revive my true self – and the morality, integrity, honesty, diligence, responsibility, and positivity – that is encompassed within it. Let me be myself again despite the extraneous outside forces from my classmates, that plead for my cooperation to be all that I am not. I shall remain loyal to myself, and to the positive principles that I stand for. I will not acknowledge the negative or selfish beliefs that some of my classmates live for. Life in school will be the medium through which I may express my true self – my love of learning, my commitment to integrity and openness, my kindness and friendliness to others, and my boldness in sticking for what I believe in, in spite of the lameness my classmates may exhibit in taking action to express what they believe in or the hatefulness they may exhibit towards me for contradicting their motives, desires, and beliefs.

“I must live honestly for myself – and never for one other.”

-T.M.Y.

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2 Responses to “Your environment”

  1. Devin Yoshimoto said

    I think this is your best post so far. It’s actually very inspiring to me that you have the resolve to stay true to yourself. I printed it out and read it and took notes on it during my Accounting 323 class. I did not pay any attention to my professor’s lecture at all. Here are some of my notes:

    – I think it’s reassuring that you are different from a lot of your peers. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

    – However, I totally understand your need to make friends and real connections with other people. Unfortunately, it makes perfect sense that if you are an individual who loves to learn and grow and not stay static, you do not have a good chance of finding people who share the same values on a small island community.

    – I really thought it is a good idea to recognize that you cannot try to please everyone. “There is no sure way to success, but the surest way to fail is to try and please everybody.”

    – I think you would find it helpful to read the blogs of Ben Casnocha, Charlie Hoehn, Tucker Max, Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferriss, etc. because reading their material has given me so much confidence especially in the past 6 months. I think you might find the same sense of confidence because I think you might like a lot of what they have to say about life.

    There is so much more I want to say about what you wrote in this post. I hope we get a chance to talk about it more in the future.

    I also wish I was this honest with myself when I was graduating highschool. Your way ahead of me at that time.

  2. I have come across that Mark Twain quote before a while ago. hehe.

    anyway thanks a lot for the comment Devin.
    It’s nice to get feedback on it and reassuring feedback to – that what i was thinking had at least some substance.

    We will hang out in hawaii hehe. so we’ll get a chance to talk – may i say A LOT.

    hmm so I’ll check these guys’ blogs out when i get free time i guess.

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