I asked my freshmen the following questions:
Think about a time in your life when you didn’t have a choice.
- How did it make you feel?
- Who or what took away your ability to choose?
- If you lose your ability to choose, what else have you lost?
Their answers shed light on their culture and lives in such a fascinating, and sometimes heartbreaking, way. I’ve curated some of the best, and wanted to share them here. They are unedited, so there are grammar mistakes, but I believe they’re understandable!
Before I went to junior middle school, I was a nonresident student. However, there was nothing to do but entered on boarding school to experience my study life of junior high school. I was allowed to go home just once a month. All of that I can’t accommodate was to live with others in a dormitory rather than my family. I got an insomnia and felt very homesick. Although I had to struggle with that, I had no choice. During that period of time, I barely enjoyed my life and had no smile face to others. Things were boring and terrible in my eyes. The whole world was lonely like me. The birds twittered as if they were laughing at me when I roamed the boulevard. My mom and teachers have talked to me patiently, but I just wanted to leave school for home. I can’t go against school systems. When I recalled that time, I realized I lost very interesting and gorgeous things. I just buried my mind to sadness and ignored friendship and wonderful people around me. I lost a lot. I lost my tears, my energy and my courage. Also, I get a lot. I get the experience, the ability of independence, and the ability of adapting.
I’m inclined to eat birthday cake, for it is very delicious to me, if it takes place of rice, I’ll be very angry and unhappy. What’s worse, maybe I will burst into tears, because I just want to taste the delicious food, cake. I’ll be frustrated.
In my opinion, my father is always strict with me, and he doesn’t allow me to eat birthday cake. In his view, birthday cake is not meaningful, only wasting much money. In effect, it is our poverty that has influence on my choice. At that time, we have not sufficient money to afford such unnecessary overhead. Maybe that is life.
In this situation where we lose our ability to choose, we may lose more. A good case in point is that we are accustomed to depend on our parents who often instead of us to make a decision, which caused us lose our opinion as well as the mind. What’s worse, our parents always pave the way for us, even though we are extreme reluctant to obey them, they will not change their attitude, causing us lose interest do this thing, which made us cannot do what we want as well as develop our own interests. Therefore, we deserve to make decisions by ourselves in some regard.
I remembered that when I was 16 years old, one day, I told my father that I want to get a part-time job outside the home, because it’s too boring staying at home but my father refused me, he said, “No, you can’t do that because it’s very dangerous for you.” I felt very angry and threw a wobbly. I shouted to him, “Why, I just don’t want to stay at home. It’s too boring, and getting a part-time job can help me save some money, also can improve some social skills for me!” But my father made nothing for it, he said, “I’m your father, you must listen to me no matter what I say.” At that time, I felt helpless and sad, I thought that my father interfered with my rights. He wanted to control me by taking away my rights, even he said it’s better for me to stay at home. I can enjoy the movies and endless snacks. I felt sad, not only because he took away my rights, but also because he prevented me from finding more freedom.
When I was a little child, I didn’t have a choice to dress what I wanted. And I always complained about my mother’s style was very ugly. But she forced me to follow her and I had no choice. Because I was too young to decide what I wanted. This was ridiculous in my mind. I’m always confused why parents are used to controlling their children’s mind even something small.
I felt tired every time things happened just like that. To some extend, I lost my freedom and own judgments. Now, my parents always say my matches of clothes is not beautiful and nice. I think it’s their fault! HAHA!
Several years ago, I had many bad friends, and I always hung out with them. So we always smoke, outside, but my parents didn’t allow me to do it even though when my relatives visit my home, my parents also don’t allow me accept the cigarette that my relatives sent to me. As a boy, I lose my choice I feel very angry, not unhappy. Why I can’t do it as a social skill.
Maybe I know smoking is not good for my body, my health, but everything in the world has their reason to exist, if a old friend I haven’t seen sends me a cigarette, I refuse, maybe he will think I don’t give him face. So I think, at the important occasion, I should have the ability to choose. If I lose my choice, maybe I will lose my friendship, my freedom.
When I was 15, my parents divorced. I had no choice and I didn’t know what to do. I was very sad because I love both my mother and my father. And also I’m concerned about my mother. I live with my father so that I can’t imagine how her life will because without me. I don’t want to be alone and I want to see my parents at the same time when I come back home. I miss the days we family live together but they’re gone and never come back.
I think divorce is not a matter between two people, it’s about the family. Don’t forget the child. I don’t know who took away my ability to choose. What most I want is a whole family. Maybe they are not wrong, I have no idea. And I don’t even know how will I do if I have a choice. To prevent them to divorce or agree. I really don’t know even now I’m 20.
Maybe I lost the right to know the whole thing completely. Maybe I lost a harmonious family. Maybe I lost my innocence because after that I got silent and I was unhappy for a long time. I must take care of myself instead of being worried by parents. Maybe, I grew up.
Born A Girl
The first thing I have no choice is that I am a girl. Why I’m not a boy? I always think that how wonderful if I were a boy. When I was a little girl, my cousin played with me every day. We played toy cars together, played peg-tops together, played yo-yos together, and run through the town together. But few years later, my cousin doesn’t play with me anymore. Why? Because I’m a girl. He played basketball with other boys instead of me, played cards with other boys instead of me, and had dates with his girlfriend. I lost my playmate because I am a girl. I have no choice, so I began to play with girls. But, actually, I’m unwilling to play with girls, because they like dolls, flowers, and dress themselves. I like run, jump, and wear shorts instead of dress. There are so many great differences between us, but I have no choice. As time goes by, I found so many advantages of girls. They are kindhearted, attentive, and beautiful. I do not refuse to play with girls anymore. I like them and I became a girlish girl by their influence. How did I feel when I had no choice? Well, maybe it was determined by God. And what else have I lost? I lost an active playmate, but I harvest many sweet playmates. If I have no choice, I should accept it.
Choosing A Senior High School
I can remember a time in my life that I can’t have a choice. You know that there is a nine-year compulsory education in China, then we need to take a senior high school entrance examination. If we got a high grades, you can choose a good senior high school. I had found a school which I want when I was in junior high school. So I worked hard for it. Eventually, I got a good grades. But my parent let me to choose another school. Because they think the school which I chose is much farther than they chose. And I couldn’t look after myself well. So they forced me to choose the one which I don’t like at all. It made me feel so sad and angry. My parents took away my ability to choose. I lost the ability to choose, I think I lost the freedom of my life at the same time.
If someone asked me, “Have you ever been deprived the right to choose,” I will say, “Yes.” I believe that everyone must has had at least one experience.
For example, I was asked to wear school uniforms by school when I was in high school. It always make me feel angry and also uncomfortable I know the purpose of the school is to regulate our behavior at school but it is also true that the school takes away our own freedom to choose what we want to wear.
In my opinion, the power of choice is always associated with freedom, so if we lose our ability to choose, we will also lose our freedom. Even though the freedom to choose what we wear is insignificant in some people’s eyes, it can be very serious as long as we get used to this condition. So, protect our freedom from protecting the power of choice.
College Entrance Exams (Gao Kao) Preparation
The most back-breaking time in my life is when I was in twelfth grade senior. Study is so hard that a lot of classmates dropped out. Although I felt heavy pressure as well. I have no choice but study harder than ever. Because the Gao Kao is the only way to succeed in Chinese eyes. Besides, I’m the only one who have opportunity to acquire higher education at my home. I have to stick to it. Sometimes, I really want to give up, for the school work is too hard to be understood easily. I feel frustrated, sad, and helpless, which likes an endless road that I cannot reach the finish line.
The Gao Kao, which is a torment but an opportunity for nearly the whole China’s students. It’s no doubt that Gao Kao takes away my ability to choose. And the Gao Kao is a symbol of Chinese education system. When I want to travel, my teachers and parents would say it’s wrong to play, you must study. Study is everything, etc. Gradually, I became clumsy and a study machine. As a result, I lost my ability to choose.
What’s worse, I lost else things at the same time. I lost curiosity and interests about things. I become compliant, and I lost my creativeness. I lost chance to widen my eye-sight and I become shortsighted. What I have finally? I just have the ability to obey rules. Not just me, but all the Chinese students.
I’m sad for that I cannot chose the way I lie. If everything could being again, I will follow my own awareness and chose the way that makes me feel happy and comfortable. Because, losing ability to chose is terrible.
Choosing A Major
Last summer vacation, I graduated from high school. When I filled applications for college entrance examinations, my parents wanted me to choose the Normal Universities or the Medical Colleges because they want me to be a teacher or a doctor in the future. In their opinions to be a teacher or a doctor is very wonderful. I can earn high salary with several day off.
But I didn’t think it’s a good idea for me. I think to be a teacher or a doctor is very boring. I’ll do the same things all the time. So I talked with my parents, they didn’t agree with me. And I lost my temper and quarrled with them. I felt angry and upset. I didn’t know what to do. I think, if I lose my ability to choose, I have lost my freedom, happiness, and my dream.
In the last, my parents and relatives managed to persuade me to choose a medical college.