The Gustavian Weekly

Don’t take your culture for granted

By Monali Bhakta - Opinion Columnist | November 11, 2016 | Opinion

Bhakta states that she learned to appreciate her Indian culture when she came to college. “Even after I complained constantly about my mom’s Indian food, I didn’t realize what I was about to miss out on until I came here,” she said.

Bhakta states that she learned to appreciate her Indian culture when she came to college. “Even after I complained constantly about my mom’s Indian food, I didn’t realize what I was about to miss out on until I came here,” she said.

After attending these first few months at Gustavus Adolphus College, it is evident that as a first-year, it is an entirely new experience.

This is not only me – it is for everyone who moves away from their families into a whole new situation they are not used to.

It is clear that we, as college students, must adapt to the hustle and bustle of college life.

All of our lives, we have been embraced by our loved ones, enjoying their presence as we journey through the triumphs of life.

They have been there to take care and provide for us when we need them to.

We have been accustomed to a particular lifestyle that is acceptable to us.

However, when we get to college, this all changes.

You have nobody but yourself on this vast campus, as if you are a tiny fish thrown into the vast sea.

The lifestyle you know is put on hold to enter this new realm of college.

This can be extremely difficult and shell shocking.

One does not know what to expect because they have never experienced anything like it.

It was not until I reached college that I appreciated a lot from my home life, which was based on an Indian Culture.

This is the aspect of my life that I miss the most.

Now that I am attending college, I understand the melancholy feeling of leaving behind a culture that has so much meaning.

It has a wonderful, positive significance that I believe a student does not realize until they leave.

This certainly happened to me.

Because I come from an Indian background, my mom would often make food such as biryani or curry.

During the time, I would often complain about not getting to eat American food.

As horrible as it sounds, I was tired of eating my own native cuisines.

It did not seem appealing to me at the time.

This brings me to my point about how students, should be appreciative of their cultures.

Little did I know that I would be craving her cooking as soon as I got to college.

It did not make sense to me until now.

To be honest, I would do anything to take those days back where I would be sitting in the kitchen eating puri pani.

This is because it was everything I was used to, and even though I did not realize it at the time, I did love my mom’s cooking.

Instead, I wanted to fit in with whatever I perceived as the norm, and eat whatever my friends were eating.

Even after I complained constantly about my mom’s Indian food, I didn’t realize what I was about to miss out on until I came here.

I did not feel guilty about what I thought or how I was acting.

After coming here, I knew how much I was missing out on when it came to my culture.

It all made sense to me when my mother yelled at me to embrace where I came from.

I now understand why she told me to quit whining.

She wanted me to be proud of where I come from.

It was evident how right she was, considering I would be homesick without my mom’s food.

This brings me to my point about how students, should be appreciative of their cultures.

Although I did love that type of food, it was evident I was missing the spiciness and zest that was a part of the Indian food.

When I was home, I took for granted many aspects of my culture.

They should not be ashamed of their ethnicity.

It is a colorful aspect that is apart of who they are.

It’s imperative that a person sticks to their valuable culture because they will not know the importance of it until it is gone.

Many students have an epiphany moment like this when they come to college.

They feel nostalgic about what they left behind.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Students should still express who they are when they come to college.

It does not have to stop or be halted.

A person’s cultural identity should not be left at home.

They must know that they can continue to celebrate, practice, or cook food from whichever culture they are from.

I was definitely able to do that this past weekend when I celebrated Diwali with my friends with Indian food and garnishing the table with candles.

It is occurrences like these that allow an individual is able to fully appreciate their culture, and not take it for granted.

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