The biggest decision I have made in my life yet, was to come to college to the United
States. My family owns a business in India which I aspire to run some day and I could have
stayed home, studied and worked simultaneously. Instead, after noticing the number of
classmates and family members going abroad to receive higher education, my family and
friends advised me to come to Bentley for my undergraduate degree. This is one of the time
structural influence has affected my life the most. Structural influences1 include defined
perspectives and perceptions of community participation, cultural factors and political context.
The influences in this example would be my family and friends along with the society around
me. Not everyone from India would come or even afford to come to America and study for four
years but my family background and educational surroundings led me to choose a foreign
country to study. Through the rest of this social ethnography I will be discussing how social
norms, my family’s class position, my race, gender and education have impacted and influenced
my life experiences.
I come from a conservative, joint Indian family. Here we like living around our first
families and I grew up in a family of 11, which included my paternal grandparents, parents, aunt
and uncle, two sisters and two cousins. This atmosphere, however entertaining and loving was
also challenging. It sounds ridiculous to talk about competition amongst siblings but there was
always an unspoken truth of somewhat, which always made me think I was competing with my
siblings which has shaped my everyday life tremendously. I myself admit I want to win
everything, every conversation, every fight and I am sore loser. When I lose, I get frustrated and
1 “Home - PubMed - NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of
grow angry and need time to cool off before talking about it. Now that I look at this aspect of
my life, I can relate it back to the competitive background I grew up in everyday and how that
makes me want to win everything and I am not sure if I am happy or not of this trait of mine.
Growing up I never had the best relationship with my father, since he was busy
establishing a business to support his family. When I did speak with him and spend time with
him as a child it would all be fun and jokes but as I grew older, I realized the expectations my
family and especially my father had of me. Of course, he would never tell me this clearly, he
instead began talking to me about the business as if I were part of it and now at 21, looking
back at the past 5-6 years I realize that almost 90% of the conversations I have with my father
are business related and my future in this business. I definitely aspire to join my family business
but I cannot deny that family...