I have had it drilled into my brain that education is the key to success. The “drilling” was not bad but it did have side effects. When kids were out playing, my mother would make me copy words from the dictionary. I would constantly be complaining about it, and her answer was one of these: “Do you want to work at McDonald’s or become someone who is successful in life?” or, “We didn’t come to America so you could throw your future away.” One of the main reasons she wanted me to do very well was because English was my third language, at the time. We had moved to America and it is still, “the land of opportunities.” My mother like many other mothers of immigrants wants a good future for her kids. Needless to say I became a book nerd. I remember going to the library over the summer breaks and coming back with two bags of books. I used to take books with me to parties because I got bored and wanted to read. To this day reading is my favorite pastime.
Growing up, we had a television in the house, but to this day we don’t have any added cable channels other than the ones you get on basic cable. It was not because we could not afford it, but because my mother believes that television is a distraction. I was never told not to watch television, but she preferred that I read. Like I said before, reading is one of my favorite things to do, but lately I have been realizing I have not been reading at all. I want to blame my Internet, but I know that most of the blame is on me. I have discovered the addiction to watching movies and television shows online. I started watching old shows I used to watch that have ended. Shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Gilmore Girls,” and now I am stuck on “One Tree Hill.”
My school starts February 6th and the schedule I have for myself makes my mother think I will probably go crazy during this semester. In a way, I am very excited that I will be even busier than I have been for the past few weeks with my internship. But I am also very scared because this is my last semester at college and I don’t want my grades to suffer. I knew that this semester was going to be very hectic, but I also knew this might be the last chance I have to do this internship. I am taking 18 units of classes plus 20 hours of internship. I will definitely keep you all updated in regards to my sanity throughout the semester.
I forget which week I am in at the internship but I’m still going strong. I have realized though, between my job and internship, the only day off I had since the start of the internship was 4th of July and even that was a long, exhausting but fun day at the beach with a fireworks show afterwards. I realize now that I like to be challenged and that is why I take on a busy schedule. If I don’t spend my time being productive, I prefer to relax which usually involves a nap and endless hours playing with my dog.
The weeks that I have been interning at the ANCA-WR office, a few of my previous thoughts about Armenians have been validated especially on the topic of education. The interns I am working with are very ambitious individuals having either completed their undergraduate education like myself, completed some undergraduate coursework, or just starting college. I understand that this sample of young Armenians is very biased because we have been selected based on some qualifying factors. What this illustrates is that this organization supports and values education.
The value set on education is generally true with most Armenians as well. Speaking strictly of young Armenians I have come across in the recent years, I have noticed that most either have their undergraduate degree or professional degree completed and working on, if not yet completed a graduate degree. This stems from cultural values and principals. Certain cultures, including Armenians, emphasize education as a top priority and others simply do not. Some important indicators of whether or not certain cultures value education is to look at the history, the government, country’s past and current education system, as well as current population literacy rates. Another important factor for entering the higher education system is based on the information obtained on the educational processes throughout the elementary, high school and college years in an individual’s life. Those individuals that receive more information about the educational system from family, counclors, freinds, research, etc., have a greater chance of going to college especially presigous schools. Recently I had a very close friend obtain his PhD in higher education and I learned a lot through the process and his research. Although his research was focused on lower income Latina/o students, his research can be used universally to promote higher education. Thank you Dr. Meza for your contributions to society!
I am very proud that I come from a culture that promotes education. If I didn’t have the encouragement and push from my family to get an education, I would have had a much different life. I credit my mother’s boldness of entering the United States with no comprehension of English and earning an AA degree quickly after while maintaining a family of 5. I remember spendings hours at a time in the library as a child reading books. Such a simple activity of going to the library frequently can make a big difference, as it did for me.