Time is a concept that does not exist in nature by itself. It is created by humans to ease our understanding of universal development. For us, everything has a beginning and an end. It is quite difficult for a human mind to grasp an image that space existed all the time, that there was no starting point, and there will be no finishing one. Partially, the concept of time makes it easier to understand the surrounding environment because people are mortal. We know that our lives have a value of length that is unique for every person. Maybe, this is why we tend to virtually draw a timeline of events that became significant for our development as society members.
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In his book, Frank Conroy describes a series of events that led him to become an adult. Right from the start, he mentions the fact that he lost his father at a very young age (Conroy 5). Perhaps, if this happened later, at the time when the author was a grown-up, this fact would not influence him that much. However, Conroy had to take his life path alone with all of its fortunes and downfalls. His career path was influenced significantly by the complexity of that route. While many parents try to give their children opportunities to get a decent job, the author had to work in many odd places. This is a significant memory a human being is predominantly seen as a professional that uses his or her skills to satisfy fundamental physical and moral needs. The process of education and employment takes up most of our lifetime, and later becomes a base for judging the value of existence.
If I were to write a memoir like Frank Conroy, I would include my international student experience. I believe it to be one of the most important steps to shape my entire worldview in the future. There are several reasons why I find it significant, including a natural process of transforming into an adult while developing communication skills that are necessary in the world focused on globalization.
To start with, being put on my own at a young age certainly makes me think about my previous world perspective. There are numerous duties that I have to perform on my own, as well as skills to develop for satisfying my essential needs for food and shelter. I need to learn how to be responsible and what to do in case of an emergency. In general, this kind of lifestyle sets me apart from those students who have the advantage of living with their families during the whole study period.
However, the most important feature of my experience as an international student is that I learn to communicate with representatives of different cultures. In a society, which is not uniform, there is a threat that any phrase can be understood incorrectly. I learn to notice characteristics like intonation and posture, as well as distinguish between various emotions. People with different backgrounds tend to express themselves in ways that do not match my own. Sometimes, it takes time to develop a thought so that it could be understood. One of the most significant concepts that I have learned is that all people are different, and there is no single solution to any problem in the world.
Nevertheless, if there is a universal thing, it is a fact that all of us are the citizens of Earth. We have the same home that has to be protected, and the anthropogenic factor influences it the most. Moreover, nations have to live peacefully with each other. There are so many victims of past and modern conflicts that it makes me question the value of power. Being an international student gave me an understanding that everyone, independent of their background, has the same strive to build a strong family and lead a decent life. Of course, all these values are listed in numerous books. However, being a part of the society that is different from yours is more efficient for this realization since there is no possibility of escaping the environment. The only way to manage it is to find a solution to the problem.
I have mentioned this experience due to the huge significance it has for shaping my values. In a way, it has determined my political views and my future surrounding. I know that I will not tolerate people who speak badly of other nations based on the stereotypes that flow from their local television. I find disturbing the number of negative characteristics given by some country leaders to others, and vice versa. However, there is a positive trend in an increasing number of international students. It makes me believe that they also will mark this experience as a precious stop-time memory, which eventually will make the world a better place to live in.
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Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time: A Memoir. Penguin Books, 1977.