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What Made Me the Person that I Am?

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1531
  • Category: Sociology

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There are several factors, which have contributed immensely to the individual characteristics, which I possess. According to Haralambos and Holborn (1995), socialization is the process by which individuals learn the culture, the guidelines that direct conduct in particular situations (norms) and the values of their society. My family, which was my primary agent of socialization, set the positive foundation for developing my identity during my childhood (although initially I did not realize this purpose). I had mixed emotions as to whether or not it was a fortune or misfortune to be the daughter of a teacher.

There were times when I felt like I had too many obligations and that too much was expected of me because I was a “teacher’s daughter”. I often felt robbed of my childhood and cheated of my happiness, especially when I saw other children my age come home from school – if they went – and play “child-like” games whenever and however long they wanted to. This was certainly not the case with me because I was often told that I had five sisters and therefore I had very little need to go out and play with other children, I was even designated the hours to play and the hours to spend doing school work.

At school, where I also spent most of my time, I was not able to do some of the things I would have loved to, because the teachers at school knew whose daughter I was. As a result, I was often reminded that I was not to behave in any manner that would deviate from the standard of being a “teacher’s child”. Being compared to my older siblings seemed unavoidable and it was my duty to ensure that these comparisons were positive made me proud. I was therefore forced art times to assume the identities of my siblings and misrepresent my own.

However, as I matured both physically and mentally, this aspect of my socialization – though it may have seemed to be a negative one – was not a disadvantage to me, instead it was rather beneficial. I was promoted to the sixth grade when I was in the fourth grade, not because of my age, but because my performance stipulated that. This step motivated me to work even harder because I wanted to prove to all those persons who had faith in me that they had made the correct decision.

Later on in my early high school years, I required very little guidance with my studies because I had developed the discipline to balance my time wisely. My passion for success served as my guidance and once again, I had surpassed my expectations. As I look back on the students who I thought were given the opportunity to “live their lives”, I am even more grateful that I was socialized the way that I was. My ability to strike a perfect balance between work and play and my drive to succeed in order to do myself proud, have been commendable attributes. I feel compelled to admit that I am slightly shy of being called an introvert, but I hold on to the hope of changing this because socialization is a lifelong process and I believe that my life has not yet ended, with my determination and my persistence this characteristic will be modified.

My family played an inevitable role in making me the person I am today. The first half of my life was within a well-established nuclear family – or so I thought. The establishment of this structure however, began to weaken and eventually my family structure had gained the matrifocal status. At first thing appeared to be the same as before as my father continued to play a vital role in my life but we just did not live under the same roof. At the onset of my teenage years, it seemed as if my sisters and I required more protection than before. I must say that I was not surprised when my mother cautioned me to refrain from interacting with the opposite sex, not even socially, because social interaction could be a distraction from my studies. The ugly picture of men was painted in my mind with my father being the motivator of this masterpiece. Unlike several other teenagers I know, this image stayed with me (probably longer than it was intended to). I became very selective in whom I socialized with and a first encounter with me could seem like a police interrogation. This principle still lives with me today and for the most part, I do not regret it because it has earned me a level of respect by the majority of the people who know me.

My older sisters also served as a constant reinforcement of these principles it therefore seemed impossible for me to take the “wrong road” in life’s journey.

Religion has served the fourth significant determining factor of my identity. I believe that my social life would not have been possible because my religious beliefs are what made me adhere to the morals and the values I learned throughout my life; they were also reinforced by my religion. The first thing I remember being taught in Bible Study was the Ten Commandments. At that stage in my life, I wondered why the first Book of the Old Testament was skipped and we were on to Exodus. I later realized that the Then Commandments provided the general guidelines for my conduct in life. I tried as best as I possibly could to live my life using these rules; they have been the guide for my personal and spiritual development and my social self. My religious beliefs gave me the meaning to life.

I leaned that pain and suffering tested my faith ion God and that if I endured, I would be rewarded in heaven. This belief gave me the discipline that I possess now to accept certain situations in life and to approach them positively and this is probably the reason why I am often asked the question “Are you a Christian?” There are times in life when people that I know have lost their hope and faith because of certain circumstances, had it not been for my Christian beliefs, I probably would have easily surrendered when I was faced with certain challenges. I accept as true that the presence of my religion was has contributed significantly to my rewards and my successes.

My school experiences could not be ignored as one of one of the factors, which have influenced my identity, since it is where I acquired knowledge and learnt the skills I now possess. My school experiences also helped to shape my beliefs and moral values, by teaching me new values and by strengthening the ones I previously had. School was like a smaller version of the society. It provided a context to learn the skills needed for the larger society, which my family and friends could not have provided for me. One noteworthy skill that my school experiences taught me was to accept the variety of people in the society and the world. At home, I had a close relationship with my parents and my sisters and I had the freedom of choosing my friends, but at school, I was exposed to different people from different backgrounds with varying values and attitudes.

This principle is very important especially in the teaching profession, which I have chosen, because I will be able to understand the different types of students I will be faced with in the classroom as the teacher. School acted as a bridge between my family and the larger society. The school environment, like the society had rules to be enforced and there were positive and negative sanctions for breaking these rules, this experience is what made me comfortable to accept society’s rules and sanctions. School placed a lot of emphasis on my development by encouraging me to strive for excellence and by rewarding me for obtaining these academic achievements, it therefore instilled my value of success. At school, I also had to work hard in order to remain in the system and in order to be successful. This experience provided a smooth transition for me into the society especially when I ventured out into the working world because I was highly motivated and success-oriented.

My school experiences were not always filled with successes and high achievements. However, through these failures, I was able to discover my potentials and my likes. During high school, I had chosen to be in the Science group, because it was considered the most intelligent group and all my other sisters had followed that stream. I failed Physics and chemistry because I just did not enjoy those subjects, however, I scored high on the subjects I did outside of class such as Social Studies and French. I then realized that I was passionate about these subjects and so I started to pursue them.

All factors that contributed to my identity were all interrelated and integrated. I believe that neither of my distinguishing qualities could have been developed without the other.

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