Viewpoint: Being yourself ultimately gives best satisfaction

By Jennifer Kang

When I was 7 years old, I ran into my older brother’s room in fear that I would be struck by lightning from the developing storm outside.

He comforted me and told me everything would be OK. After that incident, I thought of my brother as my hero and wanted to do everything he did.

But because of our nine-year age difference, he was able to do everything before me and set what I call “unrealistic dreams.”

My brother was involved in many activities in high school and was a straight-A student. He did well on his SAT’s, went to a good college and received his doctorate of jurisprudence from a top 50 law school (according to U.S. News law school ranking).

Everyone just called me “Chris’ little sister” and looked at me as though I could never live up to what he accomplished.

He had everything going for him: a good education, a wife he loved and a job that many would envy.

When I entered high school, I focused on being that straight-A student and getting high SAT scores.

But that wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to copy my brother anymore; I wanted to be better.

I thought of what talents I had and saw that music was one thing at which I could beat my brother. Sure, he played a couple of instruments, but he never really did anything with it.

So I played every instrument I could.

I played in the orchestra and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. I played in the band and performed at prestigious concert halls in California.

But somehow, this just wasn’t good enough.

When I came to Baylor, I wanted to do the same thing my brother did in college (biochemistry and genetics).

But, I thought that if I copied exactly what my brother did, people would catch on to what I was doing. So instead, I stayed with the idea of doing two majors and chose international business and business journalism.

When I entered the fall semester of my sophomore year, I still focused on beating my brother. It consumed my every waking moment.

But when spring semester rolled around, I changed. Maybe I matured, or maybe I just needed to realize that life isn’t about following others. For whatever reason, I was no longer interested in what my brother did.

In fact, I thought everything he was doing was quite boring.

Don’t get me wrong. I still loved my brother, but I felt it was time for me to break away.

I saw that I was actually interested in the majors I chose. I studied international business in London as an exchange student. I focused on my journalism classes and realized my interest in writing and editing.

I realized that trying to do exactly what my brother was doing did not make me happy.

Whether it was my drive for the “perfect” life or the need to live up to everyone’s expectations, I realized I was living a life that wasn’t mine.

I began to understand that in order to be happy I needed to do something I enjoyed and be myself.

Jennifer Kang is a senior international business and business journalism major from Irvine, Calif., and is a reporter for the Lariat.