Losing your Identity

In anthropology we were discussing how when people move to a different country they  eventually assimilate into the country. This process may take several generations but it will happen as time goes on. As we were talking in class, my anthropology professor commented on something that I found interesting. He said, “When people assimilate they lose a part of their identity”.

In light of this idea of losing your identity it made me think back to our English class and how we talked about what is our identity. I started questioning what defines our identity. Is our identity more than just how we feel?

I have pondered this question since Monday trying to figure out how to put my answer in words, and this is what I have come up with through thinking about my anthropology discussion and our English discussion.

Yes, our identity is more than just how we feel. Our identity is composed of at least these three things: who we are, where we come from, and our future goals. Allow me to illustrate these things with my example.

Who we are: My name is Alexandra Welker. I am eighteen years old. I am a college freshman at SUNY Geneseo majoring in elementary and special education. I graduated high school from Lima Christian School, and I have five younger brothers.

This is in fact the quickest way to define me.  If we were playing an icebreaker game this would be how I would introduce myself. Yes, it is who I am, but it doesn’t explain more than the basic things about me. I am simply stating facts. If I were to introduce myself to you this way you know of me, but I would not say you know me.

Where we come from: I live in Greece, New York, and attend Webster Bible Church. I was very involved in that church right up until I went to college. I constantly volunteered in the kids church (even when it wasn’t a Sunday), and I lead a small group of high school girls Bible study. I went to Webster Christian School until it closed. Then in my junior year I transferred to Lima Christian School where I graduated from. I played piano and sang when I was younger. I really enjoy acting and have been an actor in three school plays as well as a bunch of elementary school skits.

When I say where I come from I don’t just mean the basic “Oh I lived in Greece”. Though that is a part it goes further than that. When I am telling someone where I come from I tell them about some likes I have and important things that have shaped me. This is a part of my identity that is more complicated than my name. It is a part that will change throughout my life as I continue to grow older and have things change in my life.

My future goals: I am going to be an elementary teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was young and can’t wait for that to happen. Due to the fact that I took several AP and dual enrollment courses I hope to possibly graduate college a semester early. I hope to work at Camp Bay View again this summer. As I am here at college I want to become actively involved in a church here and hope to remain involved in a church all my life.

Some people might not consider future goals as part of their identity, but I do if I didn’t have future goals where would my life be. I am not just a name, I am a unique individual with my own identity. My future goals help show that I am unique and not the same as everyone else

When you assimilate into a culture, as I learned about in anthropology you become just like everyone else. Although a part of you will always be different because of your history. You lose a part of your identity by following another people groups customs instead of your own, yet you gain a different part of your identity.  When you look at where you come from to where you are you gain more future goals because you have seen the challenges that came from entering a new country. That my friends could be worth why your identity is changing.

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