By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF
Hi all! This introductory entry is a little late, but it’s better than nothing!
As some of you may be aware from my earlier posts, I’m Christina, the OCA Intern for APIASF. I was born in southeast Virginia and raised in the northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington D.C. I am a rising junior at American University studying Public Communication and International Studies. Essentially, I’ll be sticking around D.C. for a long while.
In whatever spare time I have, I love blogging on Tumblr and spending time with my friends and family. It has also become a hobby of mine to attend festivals whenever they come to town. When it’s cooler outside (below 60 degrees Fahrenheit), you can find me jogging around my neighborhood in the early morning or late afternoon.
And a random fact about myself: I love mashed potatoes and bread. It’s somewhat of a weird obsession I have, coupled with my love of taking pictures of my food. I’m a huge foodie!
And just so you know, I really did enjoy reading everyone’s bios and blog posts! I hope you’ll continue to blog for re/present and encourage your fellow Scholars to do the same! :)
(Note: I’m the one on the left in the picture. We were enjoying Las Vegas after the OCA Convention!)

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF

Hi all! This introductory entry is a little late, but it’s better than nothing!

As some of you may be aware from my earlier posts, I’m Christina, the OCA Intern for APIASF. I was born in southeast Virginia and raised in the northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington D.C. I am a rising junior at American University studying Public Communication and International Studies. Essentially, I’ll be sticking around D.C. for a long while.

In whatever spare time I have, I love blogging on Tumblr and spending time with my friends and family. It has also become a hobby of mine to attend festivals whenever they come to town. When it’s cooler outside (below 60 degrees Fahrenheit), you can find me jogging around my neighborhood in the early morning or late afternoon.

And a random fact about myself: I love mashed potatoes and bread. It’s somewhat of a weird obsession I have, coupled with my love of taking pictures of my food. I’m a huge foodie!

And just so you know, I really did enjoy reading everyone’s bios and blog posts! I hope you’ll continue to blog for re/present and encourage your fellow Scholars to do the same! :)

(Note: I’m the one on the left in the picture. We were enjoying Las Vegas after the OCA Convention!)

Transitioning to College: Commuter Style

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF

I’m not going to lie: commuting can be a pain, especially if you need to get to class during rush hour. It’s an aspect of my college experience that I still have mixed feelings about and struggle with.

When I first started college two years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I was still in awe of how fast time flies by—I had just graduated high school and my childhood was officially over—and in fact, I didn’t want to believe it. I was going to a school not of my own choosing where I knew virtually no one. My friends—the ones I had known for at least three years—and I were all attending different colleges. It also didn’t help that I have always been a quiet, introverted student and I’d be attending a mostly non-commuter school. At that point in my life, I dreaded change and didn’t want to break out of my shell. Because of this, I had my family plan a trip specifically during freshman orientation week and missed out on other university-sponsored activities.

Naturally, I was nervous about what was to come. I told myself that I was just there to learn so I shouldn’t worry about it too much.

Fortunately, I took a class that was relatively small and required interaction with everyone. I had it first thing in the morning four days a week and one of the first people I met happened to be a fellow Virginian, which made us connect instantly. Over the next few weeks, I gradually talked to others and started hanging out with them after class.

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By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF
Let me start off by saying that the college I’m currently attending was not one I voluntarily chose; however, due to financial circumstances, I ended up here. I did not have the “typical” freshman experience, given that I live at home and commute to school every day. The advice given here is a combination of stories from friends and my own previous experience living in a dorm for a separate program.
Get involved with student organizations on campus and in the community. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends! It is something I regret not doing during my freshman year. I made up for it the following year by joining the Asian American Student Union, Fair Trade Student Association, STAND, Hawaii Club and Soran Dance. Those are only a small selection of the 200+ student organizations on my campus; other larger schools offer even more variety.
Go to different events on campus. Even at my relatively “small” school, there are a multitude of events held every day – with some giving out free food! You’ll always learn something, whether it’s at a cultural show or a political lecture. This should be easy for those who live on-campus. If I can do it (and keep in mind that I live 35 minutes away), then you can too! Make the effort to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to. College is about breaking out of your comfort zone. In my case, I think I would’ve had a more enjoyable freshman year had I not confined myself to spending time mostly with friends from my Japanese class. And who knows – that person could turn out to be your next best friend!
Get to know your roommate(s) and floormates. Cliques and groups form fast and quite frankly, it sucks being the person who doesn’t know anyone. If you have any issues with your roommate(s), it is better to work out a solution rather than acting hostile or passive-aggressively towards them. Issues not dealt with immediately would continue to swell until they blow up and damage your relationship.
Unless you’re in a relatively small and interactive class, chances are you won’t be able to befriend fellow classmates as easily. With that said, befriend at least one classmate in every one of your classes. Talk to them and get to know them – it’s worth the effort, especially if you have questions concerning an upcoming assignment or test.
Introduce yourself to your professor and get to know him/her. My favorite professor stemmed from my enjoyment of his U.S. history class and regretfully, I never visited his office or kept in touch with him. Don’t be like me – if your professors seem interesting or if you’re struggling in class, don’t hesitate to drop by during their office hours (if they have any). It makes you stand out from the rest of your peers, which is especially advantageous if you need a letter of recommendation from your professor.
And finally, make the most of your experience. Even if you don’t like your college, find one aspect that you do like or enjoy and invest yourself. Break down your boundaries and relax!

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF

Let me start off by saying that the college I’m currently attending was not one I voluntarily chose; however, due to financial circumstances, I ended up here. I did not have the “typical” freshman experience, given that I live at home and commute to school every day. The advice given here is a combination of stories from friends and my own previous experience living in a dorm for a separate program.

Get involved with student organizations on campus and in the community. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends! It is something I regret not doing during my freshman year. I made up for it the following year by joining the Asian American Student Union, Fair Trade Student Association, STAND, Hawaii Club and Soran Dance. Those are only a small selection of the 200+ student organizations on my campus; other larger schools offer even more variety.

Go to different events on campus. Even at my relatively “small” school, there are a multitude of events held every day – with some giving out free food! You’ll always learn something, whether it’s at a cultural show or a political lecture. This should be easy for those who live on-campus. If I can do it (and keep in mind that I live 35 minutes away), then you can too! Make the effort to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to. College is about breaking out of your comfort zone. In my case, I think I would’ve had a more enjoyable freshman year had I not confined myself to spending time mostly with friends from my Japanese class. And who knows – that person could turn out to be your next best friend!

Get to know your roommate(s) and floormates. Cliques and groups form fast and quite frankly, it sucks being the person who doesn’t know anyone. If you have any issues with your roommate(s), it is better to work out a solution rather than acting hostile or passive-aggressively towards them. Issues not dealt with immediately would continue to swell until they blow up and damage your relationship.

Unless you’re in a relatively small and interactive class, chances are you won’t be able to befriend fellow classmates as easily. With that said, befriend at least one classmate in every one of your classes. Talk to them and get to know them – it’s worth the effort, especially if you have questions concerning an upcoming assignment or test.

Introduce yourself to your professor and get to know him/her. My favorite professor stemmed from my enjoyment of his U.S. history class and regretfully, I never visited his office or kept in touch with him. Don’t be like me – if your professors seem interesting or if you’re struggling in class, don’t hesitate to drop by during their office hours (if they have any). It makes you stand out from the rest of your peers, which is especially advantageous if you need a letter of recommendation from your professor.

And finally, make the most of your experience. Even if you don’t like your college, find one aspect that you do like or enjoy and invest yourself. Break down your boundaries and relax!

Sleep.

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF

The relaxing, mind-drifting activity most of us (*glaring mentally at nocturnal teenagers and college students*) do every night to refresh our energy and body – that is what I crave every single day. It’s what I reflect upon often, especially since I’m always up by the crack of dawn and usually not able to come home until 9 at night.

I must confess that I often prioritize my responsibilities over my actual needs.

I try to meet my most basic need: getting enough sleep. I have tried drinking coffee and Red Bull, eating lots of candy and sugar and running on adrenaline from pulling an all-nighter in order to stay awake during the day. Regrettably, I found out the hard way—by falling asleep in class—that no alternatives work; I simply need to get to bed earlier. Prior to this year, I would sleep around 2 a.m.—sometimes 3 a.m. or later—and wake up anywhere between 6 to 8 a.m. for classes. Over winter break, I would sleep at 7 a.m. and be knocked out until 1 to 2 p.m., waking up to the sound of multiple alarms. I realized that getting enough sleep was essential to leading a more productive day and staying on top of schoolwork and responsibilities.

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Not your typical intern experience

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF


Half of the OCA Interns and I at the DREAMers Rally on June 15, 2012.

“Not your typical intern experience” – that’s the OCA Internship Program tagline, and for good reason. Though I did not know much about OCA or its internship program, I applied at the recommendation of my friend Pang. I wanted something to do over the summer, and as much as I loved working in the summer program I had been with for the past three summers, I needed a change.

As I somewhat mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m currently the OCA Intern for APIASF – meaning that I was placed at APIASF through the OCA Internship Program. This program is unique in the way that it places each of the other OCA Interns at various organizations and in different sectors throughout Washington D.C. I had no choice with my organization placement – the most control I had was indicating that I wished to be placed with a non-profit – but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! I have had a blast so far with APIASF and its wonderful staff.

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Ten years from now…

By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF

Ten years from now, I’ll be 30 years old.

To be honest, I can barely see where I’ll be two years from now, let alone ten. I envisioned myself as one of the D.C. “working women,” working a 9-to-5 office job at one of the numerous organizations in D.C.. But between then and now, I want to ensure my future success by studying hard and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to me by my school and community.

Living in the D.C. suburbs has its perks – some of which include internship prospects and working with wide ranges of groups with differing interests. Because I don’t have specific career goals in mind, I’m working on expanding my internship experiences beyond my limited scope of advocacy in order to get a sense of what I am truly passionate about.

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