Who are you?


If someone were to ask me about my hobbies and interests, I’d probably list off the same list of generic ones: cross country, dance, track, Model UN, marching band. Hobbies one would expect. Interests that tick off like clockwork, each one another potential bullet point to be mentioned in a future r sum .

I looked up the word “r sum ,” and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary provided me with a simple definition: “a summary.” A college r sum , then, would theoretically be a synopsis of a person. However, this type of document has quickly become a way for people to hoard illustrious labels.

Should we, as humans, really be summarized by a brief list of extracurriculars and leadership positions?

Each person is made up of myriads of factors; each personality is so complex that psychologists still cannot pinpoint how to effectively define a person.

A person is made up of more than the perfunctory vocabulary lists they turn in. A person is made up of more than all the teams that call them a captain. A person is made up of more than how many jobs they can juggle at once.

A high-achieving community is an amazing environment to live in, but it can fog up the glasses of one’s perception. People are overly focused on the end goal, the what-comes-next, the destination. Students take on boatloads of AP classes and line their day up, end to end, with sports and activities. They think their identity lies in what they can stack onto their r sum ; it seems as though these titles will help them get into a dream college, which will then define them as a person.

But we are so much more than an inventory.

We are so much more than an inventory.

If I were to summarize myself, I would probably not even mention my GPA. I would probably not even mention how many AP classes I’ve taken. I would probably not even mention that I was a section leader in marching band or a captain of the cross country team.

Instead, I would talk about who I am. I would bring up what I’m passionate about.

I love to run. I love to read. I love to dance. I love to learn calculus. I love to drive around aimlessly. I love poetry. I love to be aware of politics and the news around the world. I love to travel and experience new cultures. I love to test myself and see how many Spanish words I still remember from sixth grade. I love to put my hair in a bun for ballet.

Next, I would talk about the little things that bring me joy.

Salads made with spinach. Seeing other people smile. BuzzFeed Newsletters. Garage sales in my neighborhood. A really good sentence (especially if it incorporates a semicolon). Falling asleep to the sound of rain beating on my roof.

Finally, I would talk about everything that has made me who I am.

My parents. My grandparents. My brother. My aunt who likes a good steak even more than I do. My friends. My teachers who have taught me so much more than just their curriculum. My split-second decision to join cross country during sophomore year. My fear of driving, which then transformed into my love for driving.

Life is not an end goal. It’s a journey, a learning process, a trial-and-error system. Nothing will stack a person’s r sum high enough for what life has to throw at them. The final destination is never promised, so we might as well enjoy what we have along the ride.

Now, if someone were to ask me about my hobbies and interests, I’d hope I don’t list off any generic ones. I’d hope I’d say things that didn’t sound like I was speaking robotically to routine questions from relatives at a family gathering. I’d hope the clockwork gears would need to turn forwards and backwards to grind out the intricate, gritty parts of me.