If someone asked me to use two words to describe the path I have lead in my life till now, I would have to say it has been one of hardship and perseverance. I have never been naïve; I realize that growing up in this day and age is difficult for anyone. But I have never shied away from any challenge that has been put before. Rather, I welcome it; I strived to be better than I was, to understand those around me and myself. In many ways I have succeeded.
I wasn’t born in Canada; rather, my parents emigrated here from Punjab, India when I was still a child. If someone were to step in my shoes they would merely have a glimpse of the culture shock I experienced when I first came here. In India I felt at home on our narrow streets roaming on bicycles and using slingshots on unsuspecting friends. Here in the wide open spaces of British Columbian society, I felt lost and alienated quite quickly. The city itself was undoubtedly beautiful to my eyes, but my heart found it difficult accepting my new surroundings.
My family were having financial problems as they just moved to a new country and were still settling in. The school I was enrolled in was one of the worst in British Columbia. When I began high school there I was referred to as the “dumpster kid” by my classmates and often bullied and picked on. Although this made me feel even more alone, my close relationship with my father helped greatly in expanding my view of the world and myself. Working as a Civil Engineer, I still cherish those times my father spent with me teaching me how to construct 3D models and blueprints of building. It was there I believe that my mind was first opened to the possibilities of designing and perceptual thinking.
Although I never found myself begrudging my classmates for their attitude towards me, my newfound understanding of the world around me helped me to understand their motivations. My differing outlook and accent made me an easy target for them since they did not wish to know or understand me. So I worked to bridge the gaps between us. I began to emulate their accent, their behaviour, their attire, until their attitudes towards me slowly changed. Their gradual acceptance of me not only allowed me to be a teenager, but also allowed them to come to me for guidance and advice. Not only was I a confidant, but my proficiency in my studies allowed me to tutor and help them as well.
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