Being Filipino is probably the most influential and defining trait I posses. It has been the foundation of my career path, favorite type of food, culture, and my values. Growing up in a Filipino-centered home I was taught the essentials of living frugally, hospitality, being family-centered, and hard work. Because of these values, I use generic-branded products, over-offer help and food, am a homebody, and am pursuing a career in medicine. Furthermore, I usually exhibit the stereotypical Filipino characteristics of being extremely loud, passionate in dance, and late to various parties and other functions. As one can probably see, I am very Filipino; and because of this I would feel the need to break the mould created by my race and become “my own person”, as I thought I was not completely myself. I felt that I should extricate myself from the Filipino mold, and assimilate to a variety of people and cultures. As a result, I did try to distance myself from hanging out with Filipinos and attending various Filipino-culture events. And for a while I found myself liking different things and acting a certain way. Yet similar to my full-Filipino phase, I did not feel like I found my identity. I realized that I was trying to fit a mold of nonconformity and stand out, and eventually I also came to discover that was not me at all. I came to love my Filipino culture, while simultaneously loving other non-Filipino aspects. Besides eating a lot of different types of food, I would listen to many genres of music, and engage into many in-depth and stimulating conversations about relationships, academics, and family with people of different ethnicities and backgrounds. I would also spend “freely” in that I buy what I deserve, rather than what is cheap. Moreover, I would use my strong work ethic to help out in community projects, fundraisers, and school events. And thus I found my balance between being a Filipino and being myself. I learned that being a Filipino is a part of my identity, while being an outlet of distinguishing myself as my own person.

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