List 5 values that are most important to you. Why did you choose these values? Do these personal values align with or diverge from broader values of your culture? Do you express these values differently in different cultural contexts? How might you navigate/experience cultural contexts in which these values are not prioritized?


The 5 values that are of the most importance to me are determination, health, purpose, empathy and courage. I think health is a pretty self-explanatory value since, without good health, it is almost impossible to work on yourself and work well with others. In a sense, good health can implicitly provide one with the other 4 values I mentioned. Furthermore, having grown up in India, where not everyone has the luxury and accessibility to good healthcare, I ensure that I don’t take my health for granted.

Similarly, determination is another trait that is vitally important to me, since it gives me the strength to work through any tough situations that are likely to occur in my life. Not only do I hope to have the determination to work through my own problems, but I also hope to have determination to help others work through their problems.

In a similar vein, I think empathy is a critical value when trying to find and help people that share the same values and goals as yourself. I think empathy is not just a key value so that I can identify and align myself with other people, but also so that I can better understand from other people’s experiences how to better myself. The lack of empathy would lead to a very isolated life, both in terms of friendship but also in terms of connecting meaningfully with the important people in your life.

Purpose is another highly important value, but one that I think is very difficult to grasp and define.  How do we define our purpose? Is the goals we set? Is it the people we aim to help? Our aim in life is constantly changing with our environment, and when I go back to visit home (India), my purpose for my future may change compared to when I am back in the US studying. Therefore, while this is a value I think is critical to my growth, it is one that I am still trying to understand and define.

Lastly, much akin to determination, I hope to possess the ability to be courageous through difficult situations and also through various experiences gain more courage. Courage and determination go hand in hand, but I think both those values are required in tandem to persevere through obstacles.