Monday, May 17, 2010

Defining Ourselves

This is what I would have wrote about if I had decided to write a speech for Baccalaureate instead of singing.

Who are you? How do you define yourself? It's a question asked of us even when we don't realize it. And throughout our lives, we have been defined in many ways.

Before I was born, I was already defined- as the child of my parents. Approximately 22 years and 2 months ago, on March 20, 1988, I was born- and defined again, as a girl- a daughter. 20 years ago, I acquired another definition- "older sister". These are ways that not only I define myself, but others, and these definitions are the root of who I am. A daughter, and a sister.

As I went through school, I was defined as a "nth grader", and very much defined in my family as "smart". I was a Catholic High School student. A best friend. As I began to experience music and discover my talents, I was a singer, a pianist.

When I entered WPI, I became "a college student". "An Electrical and Computer Engineering major". In my sophomore year, I became a Brother of Alpha Phi Omega. That same year I gained a new nickname- Jonathan's girlfriend.

Throughout my elementary and middle school years, it was rare for people outside of my family to call me Nikki- I was almost always referred to as Nicole in school. As I started to go through high school, I realized that the name Nikki seemed to fit me better, it was a more fun name than Nicole and I saw myself (and still see myself) as a fun person. Some of my WPI professors would call me Nicole, but at this point, there are people who didn't know at first (*cough Jonathan cough*) my actual name.

Now I've graduated. I'm no longer defined as a student of Electrical and Computer Engineering. I'm defined as an Electrical and Computer Engineer. I'm no longer defined as a WPI student, I'm defined as a WPI alumna. A graduate. A Bachelor of Science.

Some of the ways I define myself will never change. Daughter, sister, APO Brother, cousin, granddaughter, niece. I will acquire new definitions that will stay with me forever- eventually I will become a wife, a mother. Even my name will change.

But right here, today, without a job or any plans in the foreseeable future, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to define myself. As many ways as I know how to, right now, I just can't wait for my next definition.


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