Identity is commonly known as how others may define us and what makes us distinguished from the others. The concept of identity are the variables that influence who we are and what role we play in society such as where we grew up, when we grew up, who we surround ourselves with and how we were brought up. Variables like culture, socioeconomic factors and gender can exemplify the different aspects in life that can shape our identity. Furthermore, there are various roles that can epitomize who I am. For example, I am a college student, a nursing assistant, a Buddhist, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend and a citizen. These roles are responsibilities and obligations that I am held accountable for, or in other words, expected to fulfill. Culture, for example, is one of many factors that contribute to shaping my role as a college student. Culture is generally defined as a set of values, beliefs and practices.
In the Vietnamese culture, knowledge is regarded as a virtue. Individuals who are highly educated enjoy high esteem, admiration and most importantly – respect. Education is considered as a fundamental foundation in rising in socioeconomic status. The job market is seen as highly competitive and many individuals in the Vietnamese culture, like my family, believe students like myself must be at the top of their classes in order to have an opportunity at the best career path. In addition, a person’s image is highly significant in the Vietnamese culture. A person with a good name or reputation is respected and venerated. However, a person with a bad name is often despised and looked down upon. Most Vietnamese live their entire lives building and attempting to portray a good image even till death. For example, acquiring a high level of education to have the best occupation provides a sense of prestige, dignity and a positive reputation to not only myself, but also for my family.
Furthermore, another variable that impacts my role as a college student are the socioeconomic factors. According to Santrock (2018), socioeconomic status is a social standing measured by the income, education and occupation of an individual. College students who come from low-income families like myself often seek for scholarships and financial aid provided by the government. The amount of aid a student receives depends on their household income. For me in particular, my family’s income is less than $30,000. Hence, I received the maximum aid possible. In addition to the $13,000 grants I receive annually, I have also been fortunate enough to have earned $20,000 from the Dell scholarship foundation. Because of these grants and scholarships, education was much more accessible and affordable.
In addition, gender is one of the factors that heavily affected my role as a student in college. Gender is a set of characteristics that defines men and women. With that stated, many stereotypes exists about the roles of men and women in the workforce, mostly from older generation who have been instilled with the idea that women are meant to be a housewife, while men leave for work to provide for the family.
In other words, women who seek to pursue male-dominated occupations are perceived as unreliable and incapable enough to do the job, often requiring help from men. For example, many female students such as myself are pursuing towards male-dominated industries and occupations. Currently, I am majoring in political science in hopes of pursuing a male-dominated career path in law enforcement because I believe women have as much capability and resilience as men do.
Throughout our lifespan, there are many factors that come to play during our development of shaping who we are and the role we play in life such as the three significant variables that have personally impacted me as demonstrated above: culture, socioeconomic factors and gender. These factors allow us to define our identity through our experiences.