At orientation, we went through the whole spiel of our hometowns, what we are studying, and a fun fact. I came up with three of my main identities—Danville, chemistry, and baseball. Let’s go a little further into the first identity, Danville.
Danville, Calif. is my hometown, and I have lived there since I was born. It is about 25 minutes east of Oakland and according to the Fresno Bee, it is one of the most liberal cities in California. Oakland is also home to my favorite baseball team and Chinese restaurants (Panda Express is not Chinese food). The liberal dogma, however, is so prevalent that it forced me to stay closeted about my beliefs. Even though I knew that I was a Republican, I didn’t know why until I took a Carroll School of Management Core Class as an elective this spring.
Professor Wesner’s Business Law class taught me about differences between formalists and realists. Formalists believe that everyone is equal. Their reading of the “letter of the law” emphasizes how they love rules because they are stable and predictable. They also believe that markets give people jobs. Realists, on the other hand, believe that America is unequal, and that the the “spirit of the law” should be used to level the playing field. Thus, they really hone in on the emotions and stories of unequal citizens.
Most of my time throughout my pre-collegiate years was spent with family. My father was especially influential. My father’s family immigrated to Berkeley, Calif. from Taiwan. He slept on the ground for three years because he could not afford a mattress. Even though he did not achieve initial success, he found his niche in the workforce and currently is very successful as a sales manager for Cathay Pacific. My father’s journey led him to develop a formalist lens on life. He led and still leads a frugal lifestyle and worked hard in the private sector to send me here. He did not have masses of welfare because Governor George Deukmejian cut that out from the California budget. There were no excuses not to work hard for my family, so why should others have them?
Although I lived a much different life than my parents, I have a formalist perspective from my indulgence in private companies to help exceed academically. I always excelled at math because I went to a private enrichment program called Kumon. I learned calculus in eighth grade because my program believed I had the skills to do it. Yet it was not until junior year when I could take the course in public school. Instead, I had to follow public school’s fixed path. My parents saved a lot of money for my college tuition, preaching that I could be whatever I wanted.
My consultant raved about how private schools care about their students through their small class sizes and innovative curriculum that teaches to the soul. I spent my first semester at Boston College changing almost everything I thought I would not change. I dropped my biochemistry major and pre-med track in lieu of something more fulfilling to me, law. Law is a field were people make rational decisions and use impressive skills to persuade. Through my schedule that only consists of humanities, I have seen my ability to articulate my thoughts improve tenfold. The motto of BC is “ever to excel,” and even though I have been here for less than a year, I have already reaped many benefits.
Even though formalism appeals the most to my identity, realism has some intriguing points of view. For example, its desire to build “bridges and communities” is very important to self-development. Many of my extended family members are introverted and hate socializing. In fact, all they do is criticize what doesn’t seem right to their view of life. This is a very horrible mindset to adopt.
Accepting others is important to continue learning about others. Don’t we want to broaden our horizons and think critically? The first step is to hear and listen to conflicting points of views, from which I have realized that realists and formalists are the same people—we just have different outlooks on life, probably from past experiences. And it is no reason to caricature the opposing perspective.