Why Being a Loser is Good #28

Dear readers, 

I told you I couldn’t keep a promise of writing every Saturday! I’m trying my best to continue this schedule because this is my free therapy session, whether someone can relate with me or not. It’s just without the feedback of a professional, and though, at times, I want some feedback to understand that what I’m feeling is normal. 

Do you ever get the sense that you just don’t belong, and somehow you have to find the motivation to continue moving, hoping that it’ll make sense one day? Yeah, that’s where I’m at, even though where I am is good enough. However, that’s beside the point; I wanted to continue with the series I started a while back by asking yourself questions to know yourself better! 

Today’s question is, Are You A Good Loser?

Let’s first talk about the title, Why Being a Loser is Good! Now, I know the title and the question are slightly different, but hear me out before you click the like button below, ha. Instead of thinking of loser in the negative connotation of life or the famous song by TLC No Scrubs, let’s think about being a loser in a singular moment. You lost the competition, failed the interview, lost a big contract, and the list goes on. After that moment, are you a good loser? Do you reflect on the situation and ask yourself why you failed? Can you teach yourself how not to be a loser by losing? I know the feeling of frustration when messing up. It doesn’t help that it comes with many negative thoughts about every aspect of your life.

Back to the question, Are You A Good Loser?

It brings me back to a gift I received from my manager! It was a simple paperweight with an inscription on it, “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Man, what a loaded note. I’m sure you had multiple thoughts when you read that, and I’m not here to tell you your dreams are there for the taking, or it’s easy. On the contrary, everything we want is a challenge, and I know that for sure. I don’t want to stay up until 1 AM working, study on Saturday mornings, exercise three days out of the week, stay up-to-date on current events, meal prep, etc., but what are accomplishments without a struggle?

Nowadays, most people want to chase their passions, but what is passion without a means to live? I came across this soundbite surfing through social media, “screw passion, passion can wait until the hustle is over.” I’m not saying it’s not essential to chase after your interests, but not many can afford it. So, what will you do when you lose in a situation that sidetracks you from your desired path? Can you take the loss like a good loser and learn from it? Will you be able to try it again, now knowing the things that could prevent you from failing? I can’t say I reflect on every failure because I’m human, but losing is all a part of the process. Do you think I have passions that could be one day also be my career? HECK NO, but I know that every loss in my professional or personal life hones in on what I could do in the future. From there, it’s up to me to choose.

I’ve come to understand people of different walks of life, and it really boils down to experience, preparation, and timing, but winning small battles can still be satisfying, too. Can we all be Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos? No, then why must we feel an unyielding urge to do everything right the first time. That’s why being a loser is good because of the humility and understanding of one’s position in the grand scheme of their goals. I relate to this question a lot because, over time, I learned to accept mistakes and losses – mind you, with a lot of anxiety. I’m learning to be my own advocate in my professional and personal life from losing a lot. Still, it’s shaping me in more ways than I can imagine!

Ask yourself, and let me know in the comments or email me! I’d love to talk with people who can relate to my position right now!

California Dream + Panic #25

Dear readers,

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, and I can easily blame it on being “busy,” but it was a lack of effort to keep up with these weekly blogs. I won’t make any promises, but at least I’m back with you all for another step into my life! The majority of you will not know that I’ve relocated to California all the way from Virginia – yes, coast to coast. Fun fact, I had a cross-country road trip with my best friend to get here, but I won’t spoil that just yet; stick around next week, and I’ll share my travel stories!

As you know, the mid-twenties portion of your life is full of unknowns! This is why I want to share how exciting and frightening it is to move across the country and be so far away from friends and family. We all often have a dream or romanticization of our lives when moving away from family and being independent, but what does it really mean? Well – a lot of uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden moments.

The Dream

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for my education and family’s opportunity. My professional career has been growing in responsibilities so coming to the office in person allows me to advance and learn much quicker versus being remote! Besides, it’s only been two weeks in California, and I already know that I will love it. I’ve already gone to two beaches, a couple of restaurants, Disneyland, and my office, so it’s hard to believe how quickly things are already moving! Seeing all these new places along the way is something every immigrant parent wants for their children and more!

Disneyland Starwars!

Away From A Safe Zone

All throughout my life, I have been grateful and blessed to have most of my family members around. The most stressful and complicated portion was figuring out where to apply for college. Even during college, it wasn’t as complex because of the provided structure. Now? Oh, man. I thought moving was fun and exciting, but figuring out insurance, paperwork at the DMV, and whether I’m going to get fined for something I didn’t know all while moving is a lot!

My best friend was with me, but the emotional burden I placed on her was heavier than I thought. Since moving, I have felt another level of loneliness or separation, so much so that I cried every other day for the first week while being here. This was a separation from all things I felt safe and loved from, and for the second time in my life, I didn’t know what to do next. This wave crashed into me, and I wasn’t prepared. I know we are never fully prepared, but you really don’t think about the hurt until it’s there. Thankfully, my friends and family have emotionally supported me on this journey, and I can’t thank them enough.

A conversation I had with a dear friend led to this, “Of course, I’ll always be here. Just like how life changes, and we adapt, so do our bonds.” I verbally shared how much they mean to me, which surprised them because I usually don’t express my feelings. Now, I’m taking on 2022, letting the people around me know how important they are to me, even if I’m ugly crying while doing it!


A question I ask myself is, will I stay in California long-term? The answer is no. I have a healthy relationship with money and strict budgeting, but the forecast doesn’t look bright if I remain here too long. Looking at things realistically, I want to plan for a family, but living in California is extremely expensive, making it almost impossible to save even with budgeting.

Beyond that, it takes a village to raise children. I want my children to have a strong relationship with my parents and a family network close by. There’s a unique bond between grandchildren and grandparents. My grandparents offered me a different type of compassion than when they raised my parents, which I’m sure made them envy me somehow. I know my children will learn more about my parents’ history than I ever will, and I want that for them that’s why I won’t remain in California long-term.

Apart from financial health, I’m tightening the reigns on my physical health! I worked out consistently before, but now I’m changing my workout regimen to focus on calisthenics or moving my body better.

Looking Forward

Ultimately, I give myself about two to three years in California before making my way back to the East Coast, but that’s dependent on my career or potential future partner. I’m giving myself a timeline and being flexible because of life. We don’t know what’s around the corner; a new opportunity or a personal discovery that changes everything to your plan. I pray my time here in California is well spent, and I create genuine bonds that will last me a lifetime! Well, that’s all I have for your today minhions; stick around next week where I’ll share about my road trip!

Who Do You Go To for Wise Advice? #23

Dear readers,

Have you ever been asked who’s your mentor or who do you go to for guidance, and you are stuck? I have, and I’m constantly rattling my brain to figure out who it is. My answer? Everyone and no one. The most obvious choice for some would be their parents. Still, with the language barrier and lack of Asian-American cultural understanding, my parents aren’t the ideal choice to freely voice my concerns. My go-to’s were those around who could understand the dilemma and provide a different perspective to understand the totality of the question. The main advice-givers were my friends’ parents since most of my questions were always about goals, hopes, and wants, all of which my parents could understand but were not able to voice in a way that my younger self could understand and appreciate.

Sadly, to this day, I can’t think of a single individual that I could consider a mentor or define as a mentor, not from the lack of knowledge, but rather who I see as a continual teacher. I can’t come to a resolution of what a true mentor is to me. Am I the only one with this problem?

What Does A Mentor Look Like To You?

To be honest, I go to everyone for advice without having too many biases clouding my thoughts. Going to everyone could be a hit or miss, if you know what I mean. There are moments when all you want to hear is someone agreeing with your mindset, but sometimes people who offer advice against you can be so aggravating – however, necessary. Ironically, I was writing an article for ArchiHacks, How Do You Know When to Leave a Firm, where I shared that a sign to leave an architecture firm is a lack of mentorship or advocacy. These two are different but similar, and I won’t repeat what I said there. However, it was a good moment to think, “Am I just preaching to the choir,” and a hypocrite if I’m sharing advice to designers about searching for mentorship when I can’t visualize or pinpoint a mentor myself? I believed so to some degree, but I realized that others could have an easier time identifying a mentor than me. 

So, Do You Picture Anyone when I Ask If You Go To Anyone For Advice?

What’s the best thing about being an Adult? #22

Dear readers,

I honestly wonder what the best thing about being an adult is; as a kid, I dreamed about being a singer and all these wonderful, imaginative things I could be. Even now, I look at life with an optimistic and romanticized view of adulthood compared to the majority that sees adulthood as the end. Why is that? Is it because we work every day in fear that our lives will sum to nothing? Everyone has their opinions, but as I said before, adulthood is a rollercoaster of clarity and obscurity. I’m only in my twenties, and I have no idea about my purpose, not sure about my goals, and honestly just winging it until the universes tell me otherwise.

can be generic here and say that money is the best thing about being an adult, and don’t get me wrong, I love having money, but it isn’t the best. It can help facilitate the things I find enjoyable or lead me to actions that can cause happiness. However, the best thing about being an adult is the appreciation of the mundane

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It’s precisely what I mean. We go about our days filling our days with friends, structure, laughter, and enjoyment. No one will know what happens in the next two years, so when will it be enough if we always seek the next best thing? I don’t think this underlying thought is not our fault at all! Greed, jealousy, and pride are all within our nature, and with the way the world is, money and career drive our adult life to achieve those things. This never-ending cycle brings adults to their knees and makes being one a living hell hole.

A repeating mantra that I’ve heard recently is, “I get to…”

I get to serve my family, I get to love my friends, I get to work, I get to eat, and for someone as blessed as I am, this mantra roots me in gratefulness. The best thing about being an adult is not about the money, it’s the bittersweet understanding that time is finite, and we need to squeeze in whatever fills our hearts to content. If you had asked me a few years back, I would’ve given a completely different answer with entirely different priorities. If you ask me this in the next few years, I’m sure it will change again, but I can assure you that I’ll still be grateful to be still breathing.

The beautiful crisp breath of air when you wake up in the middle of fall will always be one of my peaceful moments. The cool touch of your sheets while the warm sun kisses your back to get you out of your bed. My days cycle into an endless routine, but it’s so peaceful when I stop and find myself in these moments.

I mean, I get to be me in this chaotic world of good things and bad things, which isn’t so bad, right?

I’m signing off now, so until next time, what do you think is the best part of being an adult for you!

Do You Do Crazy Dances? Blog #21

Dear readers,

I will start a fun new series of blogs asking you and myself either superficial or deep questions to help root us in who we are. People and movies weren’t kidding when they say that your 20s is a period of your life when you live in clarity and obscurity.

So today’s question is . . .

It’s so therapeutic to dance and laugh at the weird body contortions that come out of you! I always enjoyed moving my body for as long as I can remember, but my interest and joy in dancing came around when I was in my early teens. It started when a cousin began breakdancing, and as a way to connect with him, I took that hobby up for a short period. However, I’m sure I became that annoying family member that copies whatever you are doing. I eventually quit break dancing because my heart wasn’t in it, and I made excuses not to train.

Fast forward to university life, I joined the breakdancing club my sophomore year to explore body movement and how it can translate to my fundamentals of parkour movement. During this time, I was dabbling with contemporary dance to see the possibilities and gracefulness in movement. Now I can’t even go a day without doing some random dance in my kitchen, backyard, in the shower, or under the moonlight!

Pun intended. Dancing in the Moonlight is one of my top “must dance no matter where you are” songs! I’m sure my friends and family often question my sanity when they see me enjoying myself. Everyone should be comfortable in their skin and bubble to let loose! Just imagine the moment where the music takes over, your brain shuts off, and you are present in the moment. It may not look pretty, but I bet you can say that felt nice.

That’s all I have for you today readers, please let me know your favorite song to break into dance in the comments! I’ll be continuing this series until I reach the end of the book, so it’s one question a week, and by the end, you might have a better idea of yourself.

I’m Burning . . .

I’ve been feeling aloof as the days begin to blend into what seems like a never-ending process of toxic refinement. I start my days with morning news and a two-hour ritual of eating, breathing, listening, watching, and caring for my dog. After those two hours, I begin to deep-dive into this state of extreme focus, applying to jobs, sending emails, and working on the next thing off my list. And you know what? I’m afraid that I’m burning too much at once.

Among my crazy routine, I’ve been finding solace in my bed, doing nothing besides placing my head next to my dog and breathing. In the fleeting morning moment when I put my head next to my dog while the cool blankets shimmy against my skin – I am content. The abundance of joy I get by annoying my dog is unnatural, to say the least. However, before watching the video below, I wasn’t sure whether I would write my blog or not. I’m learning so many things at an incredible rate, but I still feel emotionally lacking something? The video below shares a dialogue between two of my favorite artists, Alicia Keys and Shawn Mendes.

In the video, they share their thoughts on love, anxiety, inspiration, amongst other topics. The wisdom and vulnerability you can sense in their demeanor is something I hope to achieve! In today’s world, we are given a skewed and romanticized definition of a perfectionist, which Shawn Mendes eloquently said. Another element of why I believe I’m burning is this nagging feeling that everything I do, I have to be the fastest, wealthiest, smartest, or any other -est word that places an extreme objective to be at the very top – in other words, perfect. Take notice in the video when Shawn discussed his disposition arriving at the upper echelon of his industry.

Many factors bring out this nagging feeling that inextricably binds all of us, including me: jealousy, social media, and globalization. The rapid globalization of technology and social media has given us a new world of possibilities with underlying detrimental behavior or emotions. Again, I’m no expert. These are my opinions that I share through writing, and you may disagree with what I say. However, I am attempting to say that the underlying emotion that rapid globalization weaponizes is jealousy – a natural human instinct. I think it’s safe to assume that we all have some level of jealously, even if it occurs without even realizing it.

Being jealous has always been negative, but I think somewhere along the lines, it became internalized that people should feel shameful for being jealous. However, people quickly forget that it’s such a fundamental human quality known as one of the seven deadly sins – envy. I’m not saying being jealous is a positive thing either. Still, I’m attempting to demonstrate that the unnatural longing to be “perfect” or the best was created through seemingly innocent elements slowly affecting our unconscious state. Jealousy or envy is an emotion that we, as humans, should understand but shouldn’t be used as fuel for an “unjust” action, so to speak.

I want to be burning with passion rather than letting this unnatural social shift snuff out my soul before my physical body follows.

Today, I hope you enjoy the ramblings of my inner thoughts on the matter and my creative burn-out. And tomorrow will be another day for the sun to rise, and so shall I.

Ephemeral MoMinhts of 2020

Good beautiful morning minhions, I hope these past few days have been cheerful for you. I was struggling to find motivation to do work between Christmas and New Years. Ironically, I saw a tweet from Eugene Yang saying that there are 6 days between the two celebrations. 6 days of no work to allow yourself to start fresh for the coming year of 2021, unfortunately, I couldn’t bare to sit still. Through a conversation with a dear friend of mine, she jokingly said, “You and I share the same mentality that America has raised us to be constantly producing.” Although not entirely wrong, I shared that it was a discontentment towards my personal position in regards to my long-term goals. Don’t get me wrong here, I understand taking breaks is necessary but wanting to move forward and progress is second-nature to me.

Don’t you find yourself wondering how far you can achieve if you put effort towards a certain direction?

As I ask this of you, understand, I cherish every passing moment of my life that are important yet fleeting all in a blink of an eye. On December 27, 2020, I was pleasantly listening to music driving down interstate 81 with my college friends. We were on our way to go snowboarding at Massanutten and every mountain we passed felt like another memory left my brain. These inexplicable fleeting moments that I experienced in that car will be forgotten, yet our lives are revolved around these moments.

In fact, I recall a conversation with another friend about the notion of “simple-living” with every passing farm. She finds herself in a predicament of comfort and complacency, meanwhile feeling pressured to pursue an ideal notion of success. Please keep in mind, I’m not lessening anyone’s experience, but to purely enjoy a hard day of work and enjoying oneself without “feeling” judged is freeing. On a road trip, I wondered…

Will I be satisfied at death’s door step?

A provoking and silly question while driving, to say the least, but necessary to answer a contrived notion of being present. The present is a gift that turns into a memory, eventually becoming a forgotten story imbedded into the depths of our unconscious mind. Whether we remember or not, a fleeting memory will have shifted our mind impacting our future-selves to progress or regress.

Don’t worry though, 2020 will be recorded in history so we will never forget. This year has impacted us in several ways and I implore you all to ask yourself, what have you learned? I gained a new profound sense of self, confidence, and excitement for the next portion of my life. To summarize the accomplishments that are important to me:

  • Graduated Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Architecture, Cum Laude
  • Gained 28 followers for my blog
  • Gained 45 followers for my Instagram
  • Made 125 new connections on LinkedIn
  • Made 17 connections on LunchClub
  • Wrote 14 articles for ArchiHacks
  • Received a freelance design position at SL Haus Group where I’m working on 10 projects
  • Became a venue manager & events associate at 718 Venue
  • Sent over hundreds of emails and job applications with or without response

Hopefully, 2021 will bring more opportunities for all of us. Thank you so much for those reading my blog! I’m excited for the stories, lessons, and new beginnings that I can share with you all!

    My Asian-American Experience

    Good wintry morning to you all! I hope the holidays lifted your spirits by spending time and reconnecting with family. I got to experience a less-than welcoming Christmas morning with a mixture of snow and sleet, but hoping for a nice white christmas for everyone else. Today, I wanted to talk and share about my Asian-American experience and some thoughts I have on this topic. This post touches lightly on complicated subject that requires an in-depth holistic view of one’s life, upbringing, politics, and priorities. However, I do hope you enjoy what I would like to share with you all today.

    Majority of my life, I grew up in a suburban area with little to zero asian diversity making it very difficult to understand my identity and a target for bullying. Whether it was students or teachers, I knew there was a difference when another individual of lighter tone was given special treatment. Eventually I didn’t give it much thought and accepted all remarks, aggressions, or unfair treatment while pushing forward by developing myself. Now I grew up watching some of the biggest Asian youtube stars at the time like Ryan Higa, Bart Kwan, Tim Chantarangsu, Joe Jitsukawa, and David So. They helped establish a foundation more-so of what it means to be “Asian” than Vietnamese. Nonetheless, I still consume their content to this day for their insightful knowledge and mettle.

    I was recently listening to a podcast episode, “Do Asians Crap On their Parents Too much, Leave Lizzo Alone, Opening up about our obesity” hosted by David So on GeniusBrain. In this episode, So expressed his disagreement toward Asian-Americans that have a certain level of privilege that their parents wasn’t afforded. The lack of perspective from Asian-Americans upset by the mentality of immigrants parents can hold, is a selfish and privileged notion that can create a divisive and strained relationship. So begins to explain his argument further on other ideologies that Asian-Americans tend to believe they are entitled to.

    This was mentioned in the podcast, but I was upset to see a similar comment on a Instagram post discussing how Asians are passive. “Asians don’t stand up for other Asians or themselves.” So is annoyed how Asian-Americans can make a blanket statement on Asian life when the “Asian identity’ is so nuanced; Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, Indian, and countless other ethnic groups. Both So and I think believing that the previous generation should have took a stand against racism is a privileged thought. The previous generation had to assimilate into American culture to survive giving their children, like myself, an opportunity that was better than theirs. The narcissistic ideology that our parents are the worse is a privilege within itself.

    Before my Europe trip, I was one of those young americans who was narcissistic, but grew to realize that the upbringing I had was much less difficult than what my parents had. They did the best to their knowledge in raising me and it’s an honor to be where I am in this moment and time.

    A few years ago, I had an opportunity to study abroad in Europe with my school. This unique program consists of traveling to 7 countries (Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain) and countless cities in a matter of 2 and half months. While traveling, I dealt with sickness, loneliness, homesick, and relationship troubles while trying to balance my academics! I remember waking up at 5:45 AM everyday to call back home to my girlfriend at the time and sleep at 11PM after 10+ miles of walking and sketching. While dealing with all of this, I was in foreign countries where thankfully people were patient with me, but otherwise without my peers, I felt like a child lost in a supermarket.

    I came to the realization of the hardships both mine and countless other immigrant parents went through coming to America just to give a better life for their children going to Europe. Funny enough, my parents constantly told us their struggles growing up, but I never understood until after this period. I didn’t have to worry about anything besides sleeping and academics. On the other hand, my parents had to worry about feeding their families, jobs, and a whole slew of problems by the age of 18.

    I understand that my ethnicity and race has its own problems and advantages, but this is my Asian-American experience. Instead of worrying about food, I worry about reaching my aspirations and career and to me that is a privilege already. I am a testament of American and Vietnamese culture combined; an Asian – American. A unique cultural blending of blessings and problems that the previous generation might not ever understand, but can respect.

    To those reading, please understand this is only the surface of the complicated subject regarding Asian – Americans. As I mentioned above, the various ethnic groups under the classification of “Asian-Americans” is so nuanced that everyone will have a different lived-experience. This post served as a thought-provoker for anyone who is interested or identifies as Asian.

    I’m signing off now! I hope you enjoyed what I wrote today!

    Contradictory Choices

    Good morning Minhions, I apologize for missing last week’s post! I made a promise to myself that I would write a weekly blog, but felt burned-out from all the news and things coming my way. Nonetheless, I’m back to share another thought in my head, so sip on your beverage of choice and enjoy my thoughts.

    I’ve started watching this popular K-Drama called, “Start-Up” on Netflix. The premise of the show explores the complicated relationship between several people while in the world of entrepreneurship and startups. The ups and down creating a business against all odds while facing the uncertainty of love, life, and loss. I recall a scene between two significant figures; one is a senior investor, while the other, is a young CEO of a startup. The senior investor is a mentor and shared a bit of advice with the young CEO, “there are no good or bad CEOs. A CEO can only make choices, so if you can’t make a choice then you aren’t a CEO.” Obviously, this was a profound moment in the series, but it gave food for thought in my head…

    On a completely different note, I’m a mentee in a new AIA program called “Operation Reach, Retain, and Develop.” This program supports new architecture graduates of the pandemic to stay within the profession by providing mentors and guidance. I had a meeting yesterday with AIA along with other professionals discussing their alternative careers to architecture. Nick Serfass, an executive director at RVA Tech, presented his unique alternative career originating from architecture. The presentation was lighthearted and comedic with great input for achieving an alternative career. In a 15-minute presentation with only 15 slides, Nick touched on thoughts that seem so simple, yet we forget about them all the time. One slide had,


    Coincidentally, I was writing an article for ArchiHacks discussing alternative careers to architecture. The article focused on careers distant from architecture giving a unique perspective on the possibilities of the design and technical degree. If interested, you can read the article by clicking this link.

    By now, you are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, it all boils down to choices, careers, and ourselves.

    As children, everything was black and white. There were right and wrong answers, now there are only choices. We are defined by the choices we made, will make or didn’t make.

    Normally I don’t look too much into astrology, but I read a post about my astral sign in passing. Whether you believe it or not, it opened up thoughts. I forgot what was on the post, but it left enough of an impression for me to think about my position, choices, and future.

    There is fear and uncertainty with every step I take towards the future. I am full of contradictions and this makes me human. Don’t you find it beautiful that this mix of emotions entangling our short lives is the entirety of our existence and what we know?

    I think humans contradict themselves all the time. Who they wanted to be growing up dealt with the choices that they are faced with. We can experience a mix of emotions in one day based on a decision we made in a millisecond without any real thought.

    How do you think we would feel if we can remember all the choices we made?

    Another slide that Nick Serfass shared during his presentation,


    Perspective isn’t just a drawing that’s in an architect’s arsenal. Perspective is a necessary vision that allows us to be free of imaginary constraints that we place on ourselves. An understanding that being receptive to opportunities and choices although it can contradict what we envision for ourselves can still lead us on a unique journey.

    It’s okay to be filled with contradictory choices; the world isn’t black and white. However, it is a choice allowing those decisions dictate our lives as we begin to grow and explore our humanity.

    The Duality of a First-Gen College Graduate

    The excitement, accomplishment, and reward experienced by any immigrant parent to see their child achieve this feat is unparalleled. These parents chased after the “American Dream” so that their children could have a better life than what was given to them.

    What is the “American Dream.”

    The term was coined by writer and historian James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, “Epic of America.” The notion of the “American Dream’ was further pushed by the propaganda of Suburban areas and solidified within the founding document of the United States of America. There are handful of definitions, however I’d like to share what I believe. The American Dream is the belief that one can have everything in the U.S. or have the means and opportunities to have a “better” life. My parents are integral to that definition because I saw their dreams and I’m still seeing it unfold today.

    I’m in awe of my parents and understand how fortunate I am, but it came with its burden too. Growing up, my parents relied on family to translate documents, do tasks, and kept everything internal. Not all, but most immigrant families emphasize familial values which became harder to grasp as I grew up in the individualistic ideals of America.

    Family or Myself?

    I’m constantly engrossed with the thoughts of my family while pursuing my goals and wants. I realized the burden of family when I broke down my sophomore year with a stranger who is now my bestfriend.

    Men are highly valued in my culture, so my father being the only male in his line forced him to carry the full weight of our family. Likewise, I believed that I had to carry the family too. In situations, I am the calm in chaos and become the foundation. I convinced myself of this very early in my life for various reasons, known or unknown.

    I recognize my upbringing surrounded by American ideals within an traditional Asian household formed this duality of contradicting ideals; The Individual vs The Collective

    How do you manage trying to discover yourself while balancing an internal battle that dictate your thoughts and decisions? To be honest, I’m not sure at all. A part of me will never allow me to dissociate my family because I understand all the effort, decisions, and blessings to be here. On the other hand, I know that there are times to be selfish and times not to be. There have been multiple conversations with people that admonish and admire my familial love.


    It can be a lot to carry. Some may call it a curse, I call it my virtue. I want the strength to uphold both and pay no mind to those who don’t understand the depth of my effort. At times, I can get very exhausted and it may be more work for me, but I have the energy to expend now. There are times to be selfish and times to place the needs of others above oneself. I truly believe that both ideals will push me to my full potential. The road may take longer, but it will be sweet when I arrive to my destination.

    The identity of oneself is constrained by the definitions of our surrounding. Which is why I am in a constant battle trying to be true and defending myself to those who want me to change. I am one who loves deeply for his family while thirsting for high aspirations and new discoveries.

    The vision of the future starts by understanding who I am through my past…