Vivian N.

$1,000 History Scholarship Award Winner

As a first generation American, I know it is my job to keep the balance between old customs while bringing in new ones, but I haven't been doing a very good job at it. There are minor things: I don't play Mah Jong like my grandpa does (looks boring), and I don't eat pig's tongue (looks gross); but there are bigger things: special holidays aren’t even that special anymore and when I was 10 I realized I forgot how to speak to my grandparents.

What I am most afraid of is losing my culture and having nothing to pass on. It is only recently that I've realized the importance of customs. Although we could never be immortal, we do the next best thing, which is to make our ideas immortal. Being a part of a culture, whether it is through language or religion, is about taking in people from the past, adding yourself, and passing it on to someone close. It is not the type of immortality people work for - as in, changing the world and giving yourself a place in history textbooks - rather, tradition is something more intimate; knowing names is something trivial that anyone could pick up on but customs are things that are built upon between people that are close to each other. When you pass something on, it is a sign of love to not only the person you are giving it to, but also your ancestors before you. This is the reason why I want to major in history. I want to pass on culture and traditions to other people and make up for everything that I’ve lost these past couple of years.

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