– Jessica, Montreal
You all remember that public service announcement/commercial with that one kid that goes “my thing’s bugs” and another that says “my thing’s sound effects, here’s a t-rex”? Growing up in such a fast paced multi-cultural and divers society, youths are relentlessly exposed to different ways of life, hobbies and identities. Children in North America are provided with little obligations, carry minimal responsibilities and are constantly subjugated to social norms and expectations. Overall, society wants children to choose an identity that best works according to its’ standards, and that was where my battle began. I was a suburban girl, growing up in a Jewish home, attending a private Jewish school, with an out-of-control ADHD older brother. Knowing that I could take care of myself, my parents main focus was my brother’s state and well-being. In addition, my school was filled with non-stimulating, privileged and unconscientious beings. Although these to environments appear to have provided me with little inspiration for the development of my identity, it did exactly that. I looked around and saw nothing that I loved and strived to explore new horizons. I began to reach out to the degenerates of the suburbs, I would hang out in public spaces, smoke weed, steal from shopping malls, would date the weird guys – the more unconventional the better. After that minor rebellion, I began to look within and truly investigated my purpose and my identity. However, I still didn’t have a ‘thing’ a passion or a hobby. This was my pain. I started dating a musician, my friend was a cook, my brother was into graffiti and my cousin was studying cabinet-making. I felt empty. There was nothing in my life that drove me, nothing that excited me when I took a glimpse into my future. I had no identity. I was simply being. Like most people stuck in a suburban bubble would, I began fantasizing about other places and cultures around the world. I ordered my first National Geographic Magazine in grade 10 and decided at that moment that I wanted to become a photo journalist for Nat. Geo., I thought to myself, ‘what better way is there to see the rest of the world and get out of this bubble’? At that point in life, it was time to apply into cegep (pre-university). To me, choosing what to study was more than just about classes, it was really about deciding what my identity will be and who I wanted to become. I began researching people who have worked at National Geographic and noticed that most of them got their bachelors in Journalism or Anthropology. So I spoke to a friend (who happens to be the creator of this blog) and asked her what she thought I could do for cegep since there were none of those two programs being offered. She told me about a program that brings you to Nicaragua, a place that I had never even heard of and didn’t even know it was a country at the time. After experiencing a whole new world at a public cegep in downtown Montreal and being exposed to the horrific relationship between the Northern and the Southern countries, I fell in-love with the idea of exploring the world. I am currently in my 2nd year of studying Anthropology at Concordia University in downtown Montreal, travelling to different corners of the world every few months and finally feel at peace with my identity which I am truly grateful for and never take for granted. This is a message to all those girls struggling to find a path, a passion and an identity. The world throws a million and one options at you and there isn’t just one that you need to choose. Although my path may change, I had nothing and I have found something that drives me every day, something that I am truly intrigued by, something that makes me yearn for more and that makes me truly content. So choose the one that appeals to you most, not the one that is most convenient, makes the most money or is most popular. And take your time with it, although it sounds cheesy, the path will find its way to you.