Blog Post 3 (Interview a friend) Anton Kyrylenko
As someone who has gone through a lot of changing environments throughout my childhood in my own way, I am certainly not the only one who had similar experiences in life during childhood years. One of my close friends from the Macaulay class of 2021 is Geevanesam, who has some interesting similarities with me in terms of her journey. She is currently undecided of her major at Lehman, however she has a lot of potential in mathematics and in social work with people. She works at one of the administrative offices at Shuster hall part time, since education is a full-time job for all of us these days. She was the first person I started talking to from the twenty people of our graduating class and we had met even before the semester started through one of the Macaulay events. And while it might seem that we have so many differences in terms of culture, what our parents do, and our educational journeys, as we gotten to know each other more and more, I realized how similar we are.
She too, had experience living in different countries because of her mother’s occupation as a research scientist in the field of biology. This was the topic I primarily focused on when having a non-formal interview with her. She was born in India and had lived there for two years before moving to Taiwan. She had spent there four years before making her way back to India and then to the United States. She too, had to constantly adjust to new environments and while most of the movement was in her early childhood, her vivid memories of home would always go back to Taiwan for quite some time as she would adjust to the life in the United States.
Once she was able to come to the Untied States over ten years ago as a permanent resident, she had to move a few times and change schools along with that. During that time, she would reflect on how some schools were clearly much less diverse in a place like Connecticut, and how she wouldn’t feel like she belongs there. Once she ended up in New York due to her mother’s job offer, things changed drastically, and she realized how much diversity there can be in America. She had gotten close to the community of her middle school and thought that that would be the way it would always be from now on in New York. That was true until she had gotten into the Bronx High School of Science, which while is a public school, has a specialized entry exam that she would state: “was clearly biased towards some communities that were more “financially stable” as the school was nearly not as diverse as its neighboring DeWitt Clinton counterpart a block away that her brother currently goes to”. She grew strong as an individual there and had to battle many personal things during those years. Some of the issues persisted in college she would state, yet I had seen her grow and improve on herself drastically.
As a comparison, I too in the twenty years I have lived, had to move across the globe three times. It was difficult, but I managed to adjust. I certainly had times where I would not make a connection with local cultures for a while and how it would seem like I would experience the daily life around me as a spectator rather than an active participant. Back then, when I would look on the impact all these new environments would have on me socially, I would think about how I never truly settled with one community, how some of my friends are all over the world but not with me. As I look back at it now: not one part of my journey through school could have been more-or-less predictable.
However, when meet people like Geevanesam, I ensure myself that I am certainly not the only one who had faced similar circumstances and that it is fine to be going at your own pace and path in life, and that it is best not to draw negative thoughts about yourself when comparing your current life to others’, because you never know what they have going on. A truth I came to realize is that we should use these life experiences for our benefit: to embrace them and be proud of our past. Because, as one of my teachers in Ukraine said during our conversation after my graduation: that such experiences in life are immeasurable through numbers and statistics, and their benefits cannot be seen right away. But they are the most important things I can have when it comes to being prepared for the future.