Stop Copying Me: Students should follow their own passions instead of copying activities pursued by their older siblings, other family members

Amy Tian

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As I was growing up, I always followed in the footsteps of my brother who was four years older than me. When we were younger, if my brother did well in an activity, sport or class, my parents would sign me up for it as well later on. While this was not harmful before high school, I began to realize later on that it had prevented me from finding my own hobbies and interests.

As an inexperienced eighth-grade student, I did not know much about high-school courses and which to enroll in, leading me to model my schedule after my brother’s. I also chose to attend the same, or similar, clubs and activities that he had joined. However, it wasn’t until later that I realized my brother’s successes in the activities he participated in did not equate to my possible success.

During my freshman year, a friend that had also known my brother asked me after a club meeting, “Are you joining this club because your brother was in it?” Her question caught me off guard, and it was the first instance when I began to wonder if the intent behind my actions were the most beneficial for me. Nevertheless, I continued following in my brother’s footsteps through freshman and sophomore year.

For many high school students, junior year is the most difficult academic year because of the increase in advanced classes, but for me, it was my sophomore year. I had doubled up on science classes and taken a higher level math class, even though I had never been deeply interested in STEM.

I always wanted to prove to others and my father, that I could do just as well as my brother. However, when I looked back at the end of sophomore year, I realized that half of high school had already ended and, other than joining DECA, I was not pursuing my own interests in the classes I was taking.

That day, I thought about my own interests and the clubs that I wanted to join, regardless of my brother’s involvement, and when I scheduled for junior year, I made sure I pursued those interests. I took an art class, business class and an easier math course because I knew that although it was not the most challenging schedule I could have chosen, it was one where I could personally achieve the most success. Now, as a senior, I am thankful for being able to have my brother to look up to, but also that I was able to realize my own interests and choose to pursue them.

While scheduling as a freshman or sophomore is daunting, especially if you do not know enough about CHS courses, it’s always important to keep your own interests at heart. Even if your older sibling or a friend is successful in a certain course, club or sport, make sure that you are also interested in the activity intrinsically, and not just to reach a similar level of achievement. High school is a time to discover your own hobbies and the path that you wish to take in your career. As a large school, CHS offers such a wide range of courses, and I encourage each of you to take a class you are sincerely interested in, regardless of whether or not it is weighted, advanced or your friends and siblings have taken it.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Amy Tian at atian@hilite.org.

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