It seems all too apt to write my first official blog post about identity; my final paper of the semester and my dinner conversation last night were both about identity.

So what exactly does “identity” mean? According to the Oxford English Dictionary – an English major’s best friend – identity constitutes “who or what a person is.” A person’s identity consists of traits that make him/her unique, as well as the impression they leave upon others as a result of these traits.

As for me?

The middle and high school versions of Courtney, still buried somewhere deep inside my current self, immediately default to the “I’m just another regular little person who wouldn’t ever get nominated for a superlative” answer. Present day Courtney knows better. At least, that’s what she tries to tell herself nowadays.

This past semester at Berkeley has caused me to (inevitably?) question where my future will take me. I am an English major. But that doesn’t define me. I don’t plan on spending the rest of my life recognizing Shakespeare quotes about Ophelia’s death, reading into why a particular phrase was written in parentheses as opposed to plain text, or becoming the person who proves that Harry Potter does in fact properly represent all minority communities. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

Turning in that last paper yesterday brought on a deluge of future plans: starting this blog, going home and spending time with old friends and family, and preparing for the GRE.

“No thanks, winter break?”

I’m not trying to say that planning ahead is a bad thing. The professors I talked to this semester all commended me for thinking that far ahead to grad school as a third year. Then they all promptly told me to calm down because I have “plenty of time.” (Note: Not just one of my professors said this to me. Not one, not two, but all three did.)

This semester has taught me how to complete research, how to be a tutor, how to juggle five different writing pieces simultaneously. It has also, however, taught me that I should learn how to be a person, and not just a student.

Yes, I am an English major. Yes, I am a writer, and yes, I am a musician. But I am also a spoiled daughter, an annoying sister, a nutty partner, a quiet friend, a neurotic student, a frightened tutor, an amateur cook, and a wishful thinker.

It’s going to be difficult to not see my winter break as boring and “pointless” because of its lack of assignments, stress, and deadlines; but boy am I going to try. There’s nothing wrong with simply appreciating the time I have to sit down and read a book for fun, or being content with the company I’m keeping.

So my identity?

For simplicity’s sake, I generally refer to myself in some varying combination of the entries from the list two paragraphs above. If these are the impressions I leave upon you… I’d be concerned about some of the impressions I’m leaving with those adjectives there, but that’s fine too. And if you haven’t formed an impression of me yet, then I hope you’ll stick around and get to know me as the person who is trying really hard to not stress over the next thing and simply enjoying her life.

If this is happiness, then let it be voluntary. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

Some thank you’s are due:

Thank you, Karen, for giving me the idea to start a blog and providing the inspiration to my first post. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to your future posts. Please go pay a visit.

Thank you, Maris, for your wonderful company and conversation last night. I will be stopping by before Friday morning for that Tupperware – which is, let’s be honest, only an excuse for me to give you one more hug.

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