Struggles of growing up stuck between two different worlds


campus editor

Growing up as a second-generation South Asian American can often feel like being stuck between two different worlds and somehow not being fully accepted in either.

Living in an immigrant household comes with many pros, but the con is it can often feel like stepping into a different universe for a kid growing up in one. 

Inside your home, you will feel like the most cultured version of yourself you can muster. Your parents will tell you they have expectations, and it’s your job to fulfill them, so you try your best, but somehow it’ll always seem like it’s not enough for someone somewhere.

In the eyes of those in your community, you will always be too Westernized. Your opinions will be too liberal, your expectations of life will be too wild, and most of all, you will somehow never amount to as much in life as your cousin.

That’s the interesting part of the South Asian community. As much as there is a deep-rooted sense of respect and value for the elders of your family, along with it comes the inevitable onslaught of opinions from every “aunty” and “uncle” in the tristate area.

It’s OK, though, right? Because you can just chill and be the real you when you leave the house? Nope, the minute you walk outside, you are faced with the harsh reality that, to your peers, in a sense, you will never be fully American enough. Maybe it will be because of religious differences or challenges, or maybe it will simply be because of cultural norms you just can’t seem to escape.

It will seem like almost half your life has been spent explaining to your friends that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you still have to ask your parents for permission. The other half is explaining to your parents that going to prom doesn’t mean you will give up on your life goals and become a hermit.

You’ll somehow be labeled a goody-two-shoes by the American standard while simultaneously being the wild child by the South Asian standard. Yeah, confusion overload.

At some point, you will begin to wonder when you should stop thinking about how to please everyone else’s expectations and finally begin to form your own.

There will always be a standard you won’t be able to meet. Whether that be living life to the fullest standard of American society or the traditional family values of South Asian society. The truth of the matter is both communities will always resonate with you in one way or another, but it’s up to you how you choose to let the two sides influence the way you live your life. You shouldn’t have to choose between the culture you were born into and the country you grew up in.

As cliche as it sounds, at the end of the day, both sides go hand in hand, hence the term Asian American. At the end of the day, you have two choices: you can either waste your life caring what other people think about you, or you can choose to live.