Growing Up

This past weekend, my sister Nicole came to Stanford for about 2 1/2 days as a break and chance to see the west coast. Thankfully, one of her good friends happens to live in the dorm across the street from mine, so her accommodations were not a floor of boys.

I met her at the Caltrain stop, and, luggage in tow, we walked into Palo Alto for dinner (and ice cream afterwards). It’s surprising how much there can be to catch up on when it’s been only 2-3 months since I spent the winter break with her and my parents in Shanghai. Granted, my sisters and I haven’t done an amazing job calling back-and-forth, but it seems like there’s a lot to miss.

Dinner was at a classy sandwich place, a lot of which I soon discovered was class stolen out of my wallet. Sandwiches shouldn’t be expensive, and salads certainly shouldn’t be, considering how cheap it is to grow plants. We talked about ridiculous things going on with academic and extra-curricular stuff, from my sister overheating the other day to the importance of “Super Smash Brothers” in Cedro. I felt like one of “those college kids” who, without a care, disrupts the experience of others by being too loud and rambunctious. I now realize that at the same time, we were talking about issues that actually matter. Just as my sister’s been wading through the insanity of dealing out money for environmental issues on campus, I’m looking at my research opportunities.

It’s weird how “growing up” shows up socially. Before my senior year of high school, I was talking to a former band director about the coming marching season. When I mentioned how scary it was that there would be freshmen looking up to my peers and me, that we would be their role models, he just laughed and said, “That’s what it’s like to grow up.”

Later that night, my sister and I were sitting in my dorm room, just talking about everything going on with my family. It seemed like we were just having a chat about what would be happening after this next summer, but soon after, we had covered the job opportunities and career paths of both of us, and my oldest sister. Sure, I knew what the interests of all of us were, and what we all wanted to do, but now, we’re all at the point where we have to face the realities of it. Of rejections, of obstacles, of the actual situations we are each in.

My sisters are, of course, a lot further than I am, in this respect, with one having just graduated from college, and the other about to graduate. I myself am still getting used to the fact that I can actually make an important decision without mandatory parental consultation. It was something new, these past couple weeks, to show off Stanford to my mom, grandparents, friends, and sister. But I guess the real step there was that I was showing off my new life.

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