In my hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, where normality was…well, the norm, I tried to be a typical student – absolutely, perfectly normal. Our peers recognized them as being unique, but instead of ostracizing them or pitying them, the students in Berkeley celebrated them.
In Berkeley, I learned the value of originality: Those who celebrate their individuality are not only unique but strong.
I’m still skeptical about the “Most Original” award.
In the context of an award ceremony, it’s still just a meaningless consolation prize.
Recognizing the “Most Original” award for the pity-prize that it was, I grew increasingly hostile toward the very word “original.” If you win this cursed award, everyone around you offers feigned sympathy or, even worse, insincere congratulations. It’s an odd, vibrant place with odd, vibrant people.
Phrases like “oh, bummer” or well-intentioned but half-hearted “well, good for you” circle the recipient, creating a cyclone of regret from which the “winner” will never recover. Originality is celebrated there – not in the half-hearted “good for you” way, but in the full-throated “GOOD FOR YOU! One of the first of my fellow students to befriend me wore corset tops and tutus and carried a parasol with which she punctuated her every utterance.
If this sounds like you, then please share your story. You can’t be the best, or the prettiest, so you have to be “original.” I’ve won the “Most Original” award a fair number of times.
I won “Most Original” pumpkin at a Halloween party years ago. I was even named “Most Original” at a basketball awards banquet. How can anybody be “Most Original” when she’s playing basketball?
This essay is an example of how to tell the story of moving to America in a unique way.
This student focused on a single question – where is home?