Letters from the Dorm: my realisations as I turn 20

Cyril Ip

Here’s why aggression isn’t always a bad thing and how possessing a university degree doesn’t make a person better than someone without one

Cyril Ip |

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Being aggressive isn't wrong.

Twenty. That’s two decades.

I’m just now realising that I’ve lived two decades, most of which was spent in Hong Kong where I was born, and the rest in Britain, where I am studying. This past year has been my first year in university, and what I’ve learned and understood from it is that a university student is no more special, superior, or remarkable than a non-university-educated person.

As a student of Sociology, I may understand social structures and social conditioning more, just like a doctor with medical knowledge or a lawyer with legal knowledge – but that does not make me any better than someone without a degree. It’s this understanding of social structures – in simple terms, fate and chance – that has helped me realise that I’m just lucky.

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I’m not more talented or gifted than a person without this education, I’m just lucky that I get to develop it in the way that modern education (a worldwide social structure) asks of me. I’m not attacking myself by saying this – I’m comfortable enough in myself to acknowledge I am talented, honourable, and focused on my goals. But so are many, many people who don’t go to university.

That was my biggest realisation of my 19th year of being alive. Coincidentally, my birthday is in July, so the beginning and end of every year is also that of the academic year.

My biggest realisation of my 20th year is that I’m more aggressive than ever.

Letters from the dorm: you don’t have to explain yourself to others all the time

A lot of adults have said that my feeling of aggression is a common one among people my age, but that is untrue – from my experience, they’re usually easy and carefree – anything but aggressive. I believe the adults were trying to give me a reason for my need to be aggressive. It didn’t work.

Trying to make me feel like I’m just another young adult that’s opinionated and stubborn for the sake of it will not calm me down. I’m aggressive for good reasons.

I’m aggressive because there are issues going on in my life – a whole lot of them – and I’m here to aggressively address those issues, aggressively think of long-term solutions, and aggressively progress with an awareness of what I am (or am not) capable of.

I’ve learned to be proud of my aggression and to take charge of it. It allows me to observe issues clearly and handle them efficiently. Being aggressive saves time, and being forthright gets things done. Society does not respect shy, timid, nervous people.

My aggression gives me the right to be furious at wicked people. I don’t need hesitations, indecisiveness, or vagueness in me. Not at all.