Smile, Breathe, & Go Slowly

Everyone goes through transitions in life, and it’s not always easy. Whether you’re preparing for your first year of college or preparing for your first job, take a step back and make meaning of the experience. Although we are moving on to a new theme in September, we hope you continue to #repTransitions by reflecting on your situation, seeking resources or guidance, and making the most of the change.

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar
Getting an education, I have been very thankful. I take advantage of every day while I can. I believe that during the Posse Plus Retreat, a retreat where members of the larger student body, faculty and administration discuss an important campus issue identified by Posse Scholars, was a life-changing experience for me. This year’s topic was about “Social and Political Movements: Revolt, Reform, Rethink.” We spoke about similarities and differences in the past versus now, what they may look like in the future, and predict if there will be momentous changes in our lifetime. 
Discussions got heated because everyone in the room was passionate about creating social change and how we incorporate what we learned at the Posse Plus Retreat to our campus. The retreat changed me on a more personal level. I used to not like my school, but then I actually got to know people and faculty on my campus. This made me more appreciative and blessed of my support system that I never knew I had.

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar

Getting an education, I have been very thankful. I take advantage of every day while I can. I believe that during the Posse Plus Retreat, a retreat where members of the larger student body, faculty and administration discuss an important campus issue identified by Posse Scholars, was a life-changing experience for me. This year’s topic was about “Social and Political Movements: Revolt, Reform, Rethink.” We spoke about similarities and differences in the past versus now, what they may look like in the future, and predict if there will be momentous changes in our lifetime.

Discussions got heated because everyone in the room was passionate about creating social change and how we incorporate what we learned at the Posse Plus Retreat to our campus. The retreat changed me on a more personal level. I used to not like my school, but then I actually got to know people and faculty on my campus. This made me more appreciative and blessed of my support system that I never knew I had.

empowerment through education

Many students notice that the person they are at graduation is very different than the person that they were when they first stepped foot on campus. Sometime, one social justice course, or a presentation by an awe inspiring person can change your entire outlook on who you are as a person and who you are within your community. Have your experiences on campus empowered you to take the initiative and affect change in your community? Share how you’re making a difference for those around you!

By Joy Yoo, APIASF Staff
Aloha from Hawai’i!
I arrived in beautiful Hawai’i earlier in the week, and I am so excited to be here! Over the next two and a half months, I will be traveling throughout the country to raise awareness about financial aid and the three scholarship programs APIASF manages to tens of thousands of AAPI students.
I could not think of a better place to start my travel season.
Hawai’i is home to over 355,000 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and is the state with the highest NHPI population and highest percent of NHPI of total population – 26%. (Source) Throughout this week, I am traveling to O’ahu, the Big Island, and Kaua’i to visit various high schools and meet with community members and leaders.
On behalf of APIASF and GMS, I am looking forward to continuing to build our relationships and to provide more resources to AAPI students in Hawai’i.
I have heard such wonderful things about Hawaii’s views, food, beaches, etc. However, I am most excited to connect with the people – that is core to APIASF’s work and I look forward most to establishing in-person relationships over the next week.
Until next time – aloha!- Joy

By Joy Yoo, APIASF Staff

Aloha from Hawai’i!

I arrived in beautiful Hawai’i earlier in the week, and I am so excited to be here! Over the next two and a half months, I will be traveling throughout the country to raise awareness about financial aid and the three scholarship programs APIASF manages to tens of thousands of AAPI students.

I could not think of a better place to start my travel season.

Hawai’i is home to over 355,000 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and is the state with the highest NHPI population and highest percent of NHPI of total population – 26%. (Source) Throughout this week, I am traveling to O’ahu, the Big Island, and Kaua’i to visit various high schools and meet with community members and leaders.

On behalf of APIASF and GMS, I am looking forward to continuing to build our relationships and to provide more resources to AAPI students in Hawai’i.

I have heard such wonderful things about Hawaii’s views, food, beaches, etc. However, I am most excited to connect with the people – that is core to APIASF’s work and I look forward most to establishing in-person relationships over the next week.

Until next time – aloha!
- Joy

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar
Thinking about life after college scares me. It’s scary because there are too many opportunities for a person to apply for and you wouldn’t know which one to choose from. Some proactive steps I am taking to ensure I am making a smooth transition into life after college are to self-reflect and be honest with myself by asking thoughtful questions, examine my strengths and weaknesses, develop a mindset that looks to solve problems instead of dwelling on them, and most importantly, asking for feedback to improve on myself.

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar

Thinking about life after college scares me. It’s scary because there are too many opportunities for a person to apply for and you wouldn’t know which one to choose from. Some proactive steps I am taking to ensure I am making a smooth transition into life after college are to self-reflect and be honest with myself by asking thoughtful questions, examine my strengths and weaknesses, develop a mindset that looks to solve problems instead of dwelling on them, and most importantly, asking for feedback to improve on myself.

life after college

Are you prepared for life after college? Will you be entering into the workforce, going into a graduate program, starting an internship? Will you be returning home, staying in your current town, leaving the country on a great adventure? If you aren’t sure what you’re going to do, now is the time to start planning. Many of you are in your last year at school and have some major decisions to make. In order for that transition to go smoothly, it takes a lot of soul searching, planning and preparation and now is the time to start! What are you doing to prepare for life after college? Whether you are registering for the GRE or compiling a list of positions to apply for because you want to start working after school, planning is key to a successful transition. 

What proactive steps you are taking to ensure you are making a smooth transition into life after college?

There’s still time to apply to APIASF’s Scholar Mentoring Access to Resources and Training (SMART) College-to-Career Transition Program! See here for more information.

Hawaii is the first stop on APIASF’s travel schedule this fall as we go around the country spreading the word about our scholarship programs! We’ll be visiting local high schools in Oahu, Big Island, and Kauai.
Below is a list of some of the locations at which Joy Yoo, our Senior Manager for Outreach & Community Relations, will be presenting. If you’re in the area and would like to attend, please email Joy ASAP at outreach@apiasf.org!
Monday, August 25
Kamaile Academy Waianae, HI
Thursday, August 28
University of Hawaii at Hilo Hilo, HI
Friday, August 29
Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School Lihu’e HI

Hawaii is the first stop on APIASF’s travel schedule this fall as we go around the country spreading the word about our scholarship programs! We’ll be visiting local high schools in Oahu, Big Island, and Kauai.

Below is a list of some of the locations at which Joy Yoo, our Senior Manager for Outreach & Community Relations, will be presenting. If you’re in the area and would like to attend, please email Joy ASAP at outreach@apiasf.org!

Monday, August 25

  • Kamaile Academy 
    Waianae, HI

Thursday, August 28

  • University of Hawaii at Hilo 
    Hilo, HI

Friday, August 29

  • Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School 
    Lihu’e HI

Listen To Your Heart and Carpe Diem! (Part II)

By Kimthanh Nguyen, APIASF/GMS Scholar

« back to Part I

However, we all know this “but” is coming, freedom comes with a myriad of choices. While my school is very small, it also hosts a billion types of activities. For me, this means arbitrarily picking something to do, and I chose a capella. Thus, with no background in singing, I walked into a Disney-only a capella group. I also asked a boy out, took six classes instead of the usual four, picked up the harpsichord (an old predecessor of the piano), dabbled in chemistry research, learned to cook Viet food, and stayed too long and too often at Snack Bar. Sometimes, I was terrified of making the wrong decision (in fact, I question myself at every a capella rehearsal. I can sing, but still not very well, and I’m glad my a capella group is cool with that!). Doing something new, something so outside of your comfort zone, is always terrifying. However, in that process, I’ve tested the limits of my voice. I realized that my voice hasn’t changed. Instead, I was just figuring out how my voice sounds after decades of silence.

That process - the discovery of who you are and who you want to be - is why college so transformative. By pushing your comfort zones, socially and academically and personally and culturally, college allows a safe space for you to expand and find your boundaries. College allows you to talk on your own terms (or establish your own terms). Whether those terms include WHERE your balance is, WHO you’d like to surround yourself with, WHAT you’d like to eat, etc., are up to you.

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Listen To Your Heart and Carpe Diem! (Part I)

By Kimthanh Nguyen, APIASF/GMS Scholar

It was as if yesterday that I convinced my mother that Williams College, a small, unheard of, liberal arts school, is right for me. While my classmates were frantically applying to different colleges, I was already committed to Williams and its Berkshire location: a beautiful but secluded town, hours away from the closest metropolitan hub. Furthermore, surrounded by lots of trees and mountains, Williams is about 3000 miles away from my home in California.

Now, I’m an incoming sophomore who’s writing this article on my experience of transitioning from LA to Williamstown. I hope that this will help you, as an APIASF Scholar, in your journey to college and beyond.

To give you a little bit of background, I belong to the one-point-five generation of Vietnamese Americans. I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the US when I was 12, therefore too young to be the first generation and too old to be the second generation. My parents’ conception of college comes from their experience in Vietnam: specialized academic institutions, stratified by grades and wealth and sprinkled with bribery and corruption. For my mother, going to a college that far away from home is unheard of in her circle of friends. She made me promise to "stay focused only on my academics, don’t hang out too much with friends, don’t get into alcohol or drugs, and don’t get a boyfriend."

I nodded, packed my bag, and came August, arrived in Williamstown.

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Reflections on APIASF’S Scholar Mentoring Access to Resources and Training (SMART) College-to-Career Transition Program

By Lucy Truong, APIASF Scholar

Last year, I applied for APIASF’s SMART program at the last minute. I was over a year out of university and had a part-time contract job. I didn’t think I needed any further career development, but I also didn’t have any clear career goals. SMART was (and still is) a free program, so on the day before the deadline, I asked myself, why not apply?

A bit more about me — during my childhood, my family members pulled enough money together to move out of our crowded rented townhouse and put a down payment on a more spacious home. However less than four years later, the dot com bubble collapsed and my parents were laid off from their jobs at a computer manufacturing warehouse. After a year of unemployment, my dad took a dead end job at a another warehouse. My mom worked as an in-home care provider for my grandparents until they passed away, and now she makes minimum wage as a restaurant server.

Many barriers kept my parents from pursuing any career dreams they may have had. From watching them struggle in their search for jobs, all I ever wanted from my career was stability. Becoming involved in Asian American advocacy during college, however, made me realize that I also want career fulfillment — a job that holds personal meaning and excites me.

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By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar
I am the type of person that needs to be busy to feel balanced. I always need something to do. There are days where I would have free time to do anything and those are usually the days where I transition into something that makes me feel relaxed, such as rock climbing or volunteering at my former high school. 
I balance what needs to be done by making a list of what needs to be done. After that, I prioritize what needs to get done first to the last thing that can wait until the next day if I do not have time that day. Everyone is always having to do something, but my friend always reminds me, “The day is what you make it.” That statement is powerful because to me, it means to seize the day and make the best out of it while you have it.

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar

I am the type of person that needs to be busy to feel balanced. I always need something to do. There are days where I would have free time to do anything and those are usually the days where I transition into something that makes me feel relaxed, such as rock climbing or volunteering at my former high school.

I balance what needs to be done by making a list of what needs to be done. After that, I prioritize what needs to get done first to the last thing that can wait until the next day if I do not have time that day. Everyone is always having to do something, but my friend always reminds me, “The day is what you make it.” That statement is powerful because to me, it means to seize the day and make the best out of it while you have it.

time on campus

We often have set ideas of things that we want to accomplish during the school year. This may include joining different clubs, making new friends, getting an internship, or even networking in your field. However, reality often hits and we realize that we don’t have the time that we thought we would, or the same amount of freedom that we have during the summer. Keeping up with school work alone while juggling an on campus job may be a transition that you didn’t expect would be so challenging. How are you handling these curveballs that may be cutting into the plans that you made for the semester? Whether you are multitasking while enjoying time with friends, working toward getting a paid internship to cover some expenses, or speaking with your professors about networking opportunities after class or during office hours, how are you balancing what needs to be done with what you’d like to accomplish this semester?