new connections

By Jenny Pingling Ng, APIASF/GMS Scholar

Making new connections, new friends, and networking is always fun. I try to be very open-minded, friendly and non-judgemental. I meet new people whom become my connections, friends, and acquaintances everyday. Whether through social media, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, instant messenger, and wechat, or in person through events, school, work, academic societies, career affiliations, or social outings. The possibilities are endless. One thing I always keep in mind is to be non-standoffish and approachable. I think I am an easy person to talk to once the person knows me. I try to be ongoing, spontaneous, and fun.

Family Is Forever
By Jinni Thuy Tran, APIASF/GMS Scholar
While friendships, best friends, or even teachers may fluctuate in my support system, my family remains rigid and unconditional in my support system. My mother is a hard working mother who fed my sister and I spoonfuls of her unaccomplished dreams. She aspired to be a lawyer but was forbidden to attend college in Vietnam, and therefore she always stresses the importance of education and politics to me. My father has sacrificed his life to bring our family to America. He taught me to be humble and generous to others. Last but not least, my older sister has always been there to help me get through tough times. By pursuing education, she managed to escape from the devouring abyss of of poverty and has inspired me to do the same. Who I was in the past, who I am now in the present, and who I will be future is a direct consequence from the love of my parents and my sister. 
The photo was taken on my birthday this year (I’m a New Year baby!) a week before I left for Spain. Even though I am far away studying abroad in Spain, my family is still my support circle. The little phone calls from my mother before she heads off to work for 12 hours at the food factory mean the world to me. From where I stand, I am my daddy’s girl, mama’s sunshine, and my sister’s keeper.

Family Is Forever

By Jinni Thuy Tran, APIASF/GMS Scholar

While friendships, best friends, or even teachers may fluctuate in my support system, my family remains rigid and unconditional in my support system. My mother is a hard working mother who fed my sister and I spoonfuls of her unaccomplished dreams. She aspired to be a lawyer but was forbidden to attend college in Vietnam, and therefore she always stresses the importance of education and politics to me. My father has sacrificed his life to bring our family to America. He taught me to be humble and generous to others. Last but not least, my older sister has always been there to help me get through tough times. By pursuing education, she managed to escape from the devouring abyss of of poverty and has inspired me to do the same. Who I was in the past, who I am now in the present, and who I will be future is a direct consequence from the love of my parents and my sister. 

The photo was taken on my birthday this year (I’m a New Year baby!) a week before I left for Spain. Even though I am far away studying abroad in Spain, my family is still my support circle. The little phone calls from my mother before she heads off to work for 12 hours at the food factory mean the world to me. From where I stand, I am my daddy’s girl, mama’s sunshine, and my sister’s keeper.

By Alaina Walton, APIASF Staff 
Families are so unique, as you can see from the picture above. Some people grow up with just their mother, a grandparent, or maybe just an aunt. Some have large families where they share their home with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Others may call friends their family because they have always been there. Families are what we consider our support system, even if some only in our lives for a short period of time. Our families are the people that we turn to when we need a shoulder to cry on, advice when difficult decisions need to be made, and those who keep us humble.
Interestingly enough, the periods that I spent away from my loved ones were actually the times that I learned the most about family. I went to a college that was far away from home and spent a year studying abroad. During my time abroad I was able to see myself, my home life, and even American society from a different lens. I came to the realization that individualism and making it on your own is idealized or emphasized in American society. Communalism is a concept of the past and now it is expected that you go to school, get a job, and leave the nest to start a life of your own. We want to have our own space, do what we want with our own time, and spend our money on what we like. Wouldn’t anyone? After examining my life, I realized that family was often an afterthought and didn’t play a huge role in my life plan or goals for the future. Coming back to the U.S. was a major transition because my ideals and aspirations had significantly changed. It was an experience that really humbled me and made me realize how self-absorbed I could be. I began to understand how important it is to stay connected to your loved ones and give back to those who cared for you. 

By Alaina Walton, APIASF Staff 

Families are so unique, as you can see from the picture above. Some people grow up with just their mother, a grandparent, or maybe just an aunt. Some have large families where they share their home with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Others may call friends their family because they have always been there. Families are what we consider our support system, even if some only in our lives for a short period of time. Our families are the people that we turn to when we need a shoulder to cry on, advice when difficult decisions need to be made, and those who keep us humble.

Interestingly enough, the periods that I spent away from my loved ones were actually the times that I learned the most about family. I went to a college that was far away from home and spent a year studying abroad. During my time abroad I was able to see myself, my home life, and even American society from a different lens. I came to the realization that individualism and making it on your own is idealized or emphasized in American society. Communalism is a concept of the past and now it is expected that you go to school, get a job, and leave the nest to start a life of your own. We want to have our own space, do what we want with our own time, and spend our money on what we like. Wouldn’t anyone? After examining my life, I realized that family was often an afterthought and didn’t play a huge role in my life plan or goals for the future. Coming back to the U.S. was a major transition because my ideals and aspirations had significantly changed. It was an experience that really humbled me and made me realize how self-absorbed I could be. I began to understand how important it is to stay connected to your loved ones and give back to those who cared for you. 

#fromwhereistand with family

Whether your family consists of your room mate from your first semester of college or your best friend since birth, families are the support systems that foster your growth as an engaged leader. Who’s in your support system? Who’s in your family? Take a #fromwhereistand photo with your family or a family member.

By Linh Ton, APIASF Scholar

Over the years, I’ve found many ways to recenter myself.  Sleeping, listening to Taylor Swift on loops, writing in my diary, the list goes on.  However, if I could only pick one activity that really helps me to reconnect with myself, it would be hiking with my group of friends.  We informally called ourselves “The Nature Rangers.” 

Now as college students, I rarely get to meet up with friends so whenever we get a chance to go hiking, I’m always looking forward to it. Even though we do all those social media stuff, it’s much nicer to talk to somebody on that kind of interpersonal level.  One on one conversation feels more real to me.

Not only do I love that aspect of talking to my friends on hikes, I also love hiking as an experience itself.  Oftentimes, I’m either at home, the library, or in a classroom, and being outdoors is a nice change of environment.  Maybe it’s because of the fresh air in hiking a trail or because it’s physically tiring, it stops me from worrying about everything else. To me, hiking is such a metaphorically challenging activity. I found that sometimes in life, a goal could take days and weeks to reach, whereas in a short hike, that goal is not so far away.  The small satisfaction of physically reaching a goal keeps me moving.  Like the saying “one step at the time,” with time, your goal would be reached. Hiking is the opportunity for me to catch up with my friends, time to really let loose, and it’s a time where I can leave the world behind me –figuratively and literally.  

connect with yourself

By Jenny Pingling Ng, APIASF/GMS Scholar

There are so many stressors in life and sometimes we just need to take some time out and just breathe. Sometimes I have a hard time dealing with my stressors but the few things that help me recenter myself are listening to music, watching dramas, creating crafts, taking photos, meditation, and reading books.

Getting Along with Your Parents: Tip 5

By Gloria S. Chan, Life, Career, and Leadership Coach

Tip #5: Don’t make your peace of mind and joy contingent upon Mom or Dad’s reaction.

Your parents do not have to understand everything in your heart right now. You may have different value systems, or lenses through which you interpret the world. They may not agree or even believe yours to be valid. And that is okay. You don’t have to convince them that your values and beliefs are worthy of time and space. They don’t have to understand you in order for you to be happy. This may be hard to do at first, but please remember, you are well; you are exactly where you need to be; you are loved; and you matter.

Conversations with my mom tended to be a lot like being in court, fighting for the validity of one position over the other. Most of the time, it is my mom seeking some validation of her own position. It was never really about my position, she was typically solely focused on the need to validate her own. As I change, our conversations change too. Today, she is learning to hear my position, even if she doesn’t like it.

Today, with respect to my own validation, I only have to “win” in one “courtroom.” My thoughts, emotions, and actions need not be validated or judged by anyone. They only need to be aligned with who I am in the moment, based on my values in that moment, and given the impact that I wish to make in this world in this lifetime. I am in the jurisdiction of my own values and that of my higher power. And in this venue, I am always loved and accepted.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. I wish you all the best for authentic and meaningful connections, within your families and outside your families. I wish you well in living the life you were meant to live, and making choices that honor who you are. 

Be well!

#askGloria follow questions about any of her tips or on how to connect with family below (or on our regular Ask page) from now until April 12!

At a Washington, DC launch event yesterday, APIASF, in collaboration with the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) released the newest report from the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) project. The report, Measuring the Impact of MSI-Funded Programs on Student Success: Findings from the Evaluation of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, evaluates the effectiveness of minority serving institution (MSI) grant-funded student programs at Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), one of the newest MSI designations. This report is the second in a series of three publications on the findings from CARE’s research on AANAPISIs. 
The report, which focuses on the quantifiable experiences of college students in order to justify targeted AAPI student programs, is an important part of APIASF’s dedication to building a clearinghouse of higher education research on AAPI students and continuing to increase awareness of AAPI education issues and challenges. 
To watch a video of the event, click here. 

At a Washington, DC launch event yesterday, APIASF, in collaboration with the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) released the newest report from the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) project. The report, Measuring the Impact of MSI-Funded Programs on Student Success: Findings from the Evaluation of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, evaluates the effectiveness of minority serving institution (MSI) grant-funded student programs at Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), one of the newest MSI designations. This report is the second in a series of three publications on the findings from CARE’s research on AANAPISIs.

The report, which focuses on the quantifiable experiences of college students in order to justify targeted AAPI student programs, is an important part of APIASF’s dedication to building a clearinghouse of higher education research on AAPI students and continuing to increase awareness of AAPI education issues and challenges. 

To watch a video of the event, click here

By Jenny Pingling Ng, APIASF/GMS Scholar

It was difficult to choose just one place to re/present where I stand…but I decided on “The cross road of the world” (Times Square). To me, this location is the heart and crossroad of NYC. Being Asian American, I feel most empowered when I re/present the crossroad of both my Chinese cultures and my American upbringing. I feel most connected with myself and the world when I am amongst people with many different views, backgrounds and heritage.

Getting Along with Your Parents: Tip 4

By Gloria S. Chan, Life, Career, and Leadership Coach

Tip #4: Love your parents the way you want to be loved. Understand they are doing the best they know how. And for that, there is no blame.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Love your parents how you want to be loved. However it works for you, love and accept them for exactly who they are, right now, on their own journey. Let them have the space they need to grow. Love them now, even in dysfunction, because everything is as it should be; because every moment is a gift to grow; because from each moment is a lesson and a calling to be more open, to love more, and to be more yourself. Today, I love my mom during her moments of beautiful clarity, her moments of self-awareness, vulnerability, her struggles, her loud decibels — I love it all. So sit on it. How do you want your parents to love you? Then, go ahead and love them that way.

I do not blame my mother. She did the best she knew how! All the challenges, control, and domination, well — it is all completely normal behavior for someone who has rarely received any validation in her formative years, and who has been trained not to accept validation in her adult life. And today, I understand that vulnerability a bit more, and embrace it. I am more forgiving.

Acknowledge their pain (without beating yourself up), and there is no more need to blame.

Have questions about connecting with your family? #askGloria below (or on our regular Ask page) from now until April 12!

By Linh Ton, APIASF Scholar

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This person has been very dear to me because when I enrolled in De Anza Community College during the spring quarter of 2012, American higher education was a new experience for me. I previously studied in high school in the Netherlands, which was on a different level in comparison to the American education system.

In my first couple of weeks at De Anza College, I experienced the difficulty adapting to the quarter based system. Due to the quarter system, all of my classes were taught at such a fast pace to the point where I could not keep up with the expectations from classes. My college work did not improve until I met Vicky. Vicky used to work for the De Anza College math tutorial center and that is also where I met her. Through her generous guidance and support to tutees that are seeking help in mathematics, she always seemed to be a kind, patient, intelligent, and open minded person. But while she was helping me, our conversations quickly got beyond math problems; we started getting to know each-other in person and soon we became good friends. What captivated us, and our motivation, was that both of us were inspired by each other’s original cultural backgrounds. When we met outside of school, we often had dinner and then studied together, most of the times to 11:00PM and sometimes till 3:00AM. Vicky mentored me in English and Math.

Once, Vicky told me a story about her childhood passion, wanting to learn how to dance but how her parents discouraged her to do so. In return, I taught her hip-hop dance in the dance studio where I currently teach, but on the other hand, she also taught me ballroom. Our friendship grew over the spring and summer of 2012. Finally, by the end of the summer it was hard to say goodbye because she transferred to UC Berkeley. We haven’t seen each other since we got separated.

The Friendship Trifecta: Patience, Loyalty, and Trust

By Jacqueline Mac, APIASF Staff

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This #fromwhereistand photo is of my feet, my partner’s feet, and our husky/shepherd mix, London. I am one of the few people in my family and from my close group of high school friends to move away for college - and sometimes, it feels like I’ve moved away for good. This picture captures the two sentient beings I spend most of my time with.  Both hold a special place in my heart, being both my friends and family, in my home away from home. 

I met my partner several years ago at a leadership conference for first-year Asian American students at the University of Maryland. He delivered the keynote speech and I facilitated a workshop on Asian American history. We stayed connected as friends because we are both nerds, love developing people, and share a deep appreciation for baked goods. Fast forward to present day, we live together with our dog, London, whom we adopted last August from a shelter.  As cliche as it sounds, my partner is one of my closest friends.

What keeps the three of us together is patience, immense loyalty to one another, and trust that the other(s) will always be there (or come back, in London’s case).  One of the trainers at the shelter where we adopted London warned us that he is not a “plug and play” dog - that we needed to spend a lot of time working with him to build trust and confidence, and ease his anxiety because he was likely abused or abandoned.  In early January this year, every dog owner’s nightmare came true for us: London escaped from our 4th floor apartment and was missing.  During this time of uncertainty, my partner and I stayed focus on finding London and trying to keep in mind that he’s a smart dog.  Luckily, a neighbor saw him roaming the neighborhood and we brought him home just before a deep freeze came over DC. I never slept so soundly that night.

I share this story because it epitomizes the importance of the three values that keep us connected: patience, loyalty, and trust.  These three values keep us present in the journey while being focused on a destination.  My partner and I knew we were ready to adopt a dog but the journey with London has been a new adventure every day. This lesson applies to any new situation where you might be sure you want to do something, but you’re not sure what the journey will look like. For example, being the first in your family to go to college, studying abroad thousands of miles away from home, or trying an internship in a potential career field that you’re not sure your parents will understand. It also applies for staying true to your friends as life happens - you know you will be there for them no matter what but sometimes you do not always know how.  No matter where I stand, I always come back to that trifecta of friendship: patience, loyalty, and trust.