The South Asian Cultural Arms Race for Impressive Biodata

Srinivas Rao
13 min readJul 22, 2020

Anyone who has grown up as an Indian American knows it’s a culture of immense pressure, expectations, and judgment which comes from family members, peers, and community.

But there’s an opportunity cost to this.

I’ve always joked that when an Indian parent gives a motivational speech, it can be summed up one sentence.

“You can be any kind of lawyer, doctor, or engineer you want to be.”

We force people to choose from the options in front of them and blind them to the possibilities that surround them. This limits a young person’s entire future to just a few possibilities before they even know who they are.

As a result, we rob them of the opportunity for self-discovery, exploration, personal growth, and many other things that lead to a meaningful life.


Because in Indian culture, we define ambition and success by crossing off the checkboxes of society’s life plan instead of designing a life plan of our own. What are the checkboxes?

  • A prestigious college
  • An impressive resume



Srinivas Rao

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