September 14, 2007

Don't sacrifice personality for character.

This is just an bit of advice I've formulated today.

I'm probably over-analyzing this, but if there's any place to share it, I figure that this is the best.

What does that mean?
I think of Personality as those cute little quirks that make you uniquely you. They are the things that people do to imitate each other.

Character is the sort of thing that Calvin's dad would always evoke as a way of getting Calvin to do hard work. "Shoveling snow builds character." "Aww... I wanna play with Hobbes!" Character is the ideals of what you want to become.

Why am I bringing this up?
I feel as though I've traded out part of my Personality for Character. When I came to school today, I got multiple comments about my appearance. It wasn't any particularly special day for me; I was just dressed in an aloha shirt and some slacks for Project HOME in the evening. Even at HOME, where everyone was wearing aloha-formal-attire, they were impressed.

"You look like a doctor!" A classmate remarked. "You could march around and people would say 'Hey doc, we need you to save this patient!'" Really? That's cool. I've captured the respectable & conservative aura so soon. I'll admit, it's been the main reason why I'd never get a tattoo or a piercing. I'd lose that sort of asian doc credibility.

So what's the problem?
I only play Doctor at school. It's just a Character I slip into. It's all about professionalism, respect, integrity, compassion and humanity. However, school has taken over my life, slowly and surely. It's hard for me to make a distinction about when I need to behave and when I can relax and be myself again. Can I screw around and study at school after hours? I do sometimes, but I think the impression that a lot of people get is that I'm all work, no play. School is school, to me.

Sure, it's easy to say "be yourself all the time," but I don't really want to get into trouble all the time. It's easier to channel just parts of myself... but it makes me more bland.

I've been hanging out with a new group of people at school recently and I really like their company. They are doing research, so they are as dorky as my med school friends. I went out to out to eat and sing Karaoke with them on friday. How surprising it must have been for them to see me as a funny/wacky karaoker, singing myself hoarse. How unusually fun-loving.

Another thing that reminded me of this recently is that my friends like to do imitations of our classmates. I've wondered if they do one of me... but I think that they don't. It's as though I've washed out those characteristics right out. A few nights ago, we had an executive officer meeting, but I wasn't invited. It was as though I were totally forgotten on the invite list! (BTW, if lynn reads this, she'd feel totally guilty. that's not my intent here.) it was funny to me, because i wondered -- am I that forgettable?

Gods, I hope not.

Thinking back, this is not a new conflict for me. I will always be struggling to maintain balance between my school life and personal life, my Character and Personality. Who I am and who I want to become.

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