Great Expectations


May 30, 2021

Ellen Zhang (张雨濛)
476 words

Life brings many challenges, but my greatest challenge is living up to my parent’s expectations.

Asians are known their diligent studies and academic prowess, especially in the arithmetic domain. My father earned a PhD in mathematics and both my parents went to prestigious colleges. My younger sister has a considerable talent for math, the same as the two of them. Hence, they expect the same, or even better, from me.

However, growing up, I loved language arts and hated math. While math excited the both of them, it made me frown. While they expected hundred-percent scores from me, the best I could offer them was ninety percent. My parents, both being great at math, could never understand how difficult arithmetic was for me. I couldn’t calculate mentally as quickly as they expected, nor learn the basics of algebra in an hour and still remember it all a month later. Besides that, my parents could never fully appreciate my literary skills, with my writings being English and fictional literature not being their strong suit. Therefore, in their eyes, I couldn’t do anything right at all.

Society pressures you with expectations and ideals, but none are as heavy as a parent’s expectations and ideals. People who inspired me the most are William Shakespeare and Charles Dodgson, who motivated me to try writing works of my own, and dream of publishing my work in the distant future. But my parents shunned my vision of writing, telling me that the only way for me to be happy is to improve my math, earn money with it, and live an average middle-class life.

Perhaps they’re correct, and my love of literature will only land me into the pit of the poor. I guess, following my parents’ ideals, the best path for me should be deserting my treasured literature and focus on mathematics. Yet, even knowing writing will get me nowhere, I still dream secretly of an author’s life. That, just maybe, I’ll be able to live doing what I love.

Growing into great expectations isn’t easy. Will I be able to fulfill my dreams of writing one day? Should I abandon my passions? I’m not quite sure. I hope that, at the least, I’ll be able to satisfy my parent’s expectations.


One thought on “Great Expectations”
  1. Ellen,

    The common ground between your parents’ expectation and your ideal is to be the best of you. Your true passion will finally lead you there.


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