repdreams

A letter to my family about my own dreams

By Ngan Nguyen, APIASF/GMS Scholar

To my family,

I want to tell you all a secret. I am double-majoring in American Studies and Educational Studies. As much as I enjoy Educational Studies, the classes I’ve taken in American Studies have shaped me into who I am becoming. I have struggled to find what I really care about and who I really am for a long time. Although I studied and worked on issues of educational equity and justice, I never really understood the true value of my work until I became aware of my identity as an Asian American woman. 

Last semester, I took a class called Asian America: A Social History, which inspired me to be open to, and have the courage to discuss, race and racism with my peers at Macalester. The class helped me become aware of my identity and the role I play as a person of color in my own community and the country as a whole. However, I was bothered by the fact that I couldn’t bring up these discussions over the dinner table.

I hope that it is not too much of a shock that my view on race and racism is totally opposite from everyone in the family. I want to explain why I decided to study something that none of you have heard about. I want to study something that will let me stay in touch with my identity, challenge my thinking about society, and use what I learn to teach the young kids at home to be proud of their identity and be aware of the role they play in society as people of color.

Keep reading

Dream High

From my previous post I stated that there were many things that I wanted to do since I was little, but from all those door/opportunities I have only chosen one. That being said dreams are not just limit to family and career wise. Dreams are places that we want to travel, activities we want to do, and finally who we want to be. Over the course of time I have made many amends to my dreams.

First, places that I want to travel and write a book about them. There are many places that I want to travel to whether it be while I’m studying abroad or just for the fun of it I believe that there many more things to learn about a certain culture and experience than just watch movies about those places. I really want to travel to South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Switzerland, Greece and Italy. At first, I just wanted to travel to countries that were a bit well off as you can see from the above list. However, I changed my mind and added more countries that are 3rd world countries or developing countries. These countries are India, African, Indonesia, Philippines, and Mexico. My reason to travel to developing countries is that all my life even though there has been time when my siblings and I have to suffer financially with our parents, we were still lucky enough to have food on the table and a bed to sleep. For once I’m going to challenge myself and also help those in needs.

Next, is a list that I really want to do. I have actually never have in mind that I wanted to do these activities, but we only live once and we should do all the things we want to do while we’re still young. I want to go to Macau to do the bungee jumping (I’m pretty sure Macau has the world’s tallest bungee jumping). I also want to do mountain climbing, sky diving, and windsurfing. Usually, I stick to safe activities, but for once I just want to experience some thrills.

Lastly, if I become a pediatrician I want to open my own clinic one day and work with my friends who are getting their nursing degree/doctorate’s degree. I also want to open a yoga and/or meditation practice clinic so that people can have time to distress. In all, I just want to have fun while I’m young.

"Before you can be old and wise, you must first be young and foolish."   ~ anonymous  

Dreams

This month’s prompts is a hard topic to write about as I feel I have lacked many areas in this department. Dreams, a simple word yet it means so much more. I don’t know about others, but life certainly hasn’t been easy. As for my dreams, nothing has went according to my plans. I continually fail to meet my goals and dreams. Things just seems hard for me to obtain. I remember I had to fail twice before I got to my first check point. Then the system failed on me and again had to redo twice before completing the second check point. So I guess my dreams as been going from check point to check point. When will I finally get to the final goal? I wish I knew. Sometimes it’s very disheartening because you know you had tried your best or that is the best effort at the time and still failure assures. But in times like that I do sometimes lose hope. But then there are days when I get inspiration from quotes, books, family, friends, and from reading other peoples’ inspirational stories. I can’t say things will get easier or that all my dreams will come true. Cause in reality maybe about 30% of our dreams actually do come true; and if we are lucky maybe 50% will come true. But in the face of adversity, I can say humanity’s best attribute is perseverance. If you truly want and strive for something in time it will come true. It may not be in the form or chronological plan that we invision, but in time everything will fit into place. I consistently push myself to develop new goals and ideology when old goals are not met. I guess that is just part of the learning process. At least I like to believe so.

APIASF Challenge: March 7, Dreams for the future

March 7/ dreams for my future
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ― Bruce Lee
We should never be afraid to dream big for the future, but as we proceed in pursuit of our dreams, our aspirations may evolve or change completely. While the end goal is important, we should not devalue the progress we make on the journey between points A and B. What dreams do you have for your future? Have they changed over time? How and why?


My biggest dream is to live a fufilling  life, no matter how and where I am. Some people may have huge grand aspirations, as I do, but I also have what other people may perceive as small aspirations. When I grow up, as they say, I want to go somewhere most people will never go, do something most people will never do, and have a job most people would never think of. I want to be in Spain, Mexico, or Central/South America in general, doing mission work. My roommate recently returned from a medical missions trip to Nicaragua, and looking at her experiences I’m realising that ministry in Spanish speaking countries is my true dream. 

These aspirations might sound huge, but I can honestly say that many other things fit into my aspirations. I could serve underserved populations in North Carolina, work in a free health clinic in Durham, or just be a mom. Interestingly, some people I have talked to discourage my consideration of these “smaller” aspirations. They think it would be a waste of my intelligence, a waste of my education, or a waste of my feminist ideals. 

But you see, there are no small aspirations. There are only small approaches to aspirations. Aspiring to be a regular nurse or a mom is not “small”. Whether  serving small foreign children, or a regular American schoolchild, or my own children, it’s all about pouring your life into someone so they can bloom. No matter who I choose, as long as I serve them in the best way I possibly can and give them my whole life, my dreams for the future will have been fufilled.

We should never be afraid to dream big for the future, but as we proceed in pursuit of our dreams, our aspirations may evolve or change completely. While the end goal is important, we should not devalue the progress we make on the journey between points A and B. What dreams do you have for your future? Have they changed over time? How and why?

March is here and it’s time to #repDreams! As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Dreams at first seem impossible, and finally, when we commit ourselves, become inevitable.” Through hard work and determination, we are all on the path to making our dreams become a reality. Follow along with us this month as we reflect and dialogue on the dreams we have ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

  • march 3/ when i grow up
    As kids, we sometimes daydreamed about our plans for the future. Whether you wanted to be a star basketball player or a doctor, our childhood was where we started dreaming of our future. What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
  • march 5/ dream BIG!
    “If you can dream it, you can do it.”-Walt Disney

    You can accomplish anything you imagine. Think about your goals, where your head is now, and where you hope to be in the future. What dreams do you have for your future? 
  • march 10/ following my own dream
    Sometimes our dreams may not be our own, but the dreams our families or friends want for us. We may even feel pressure to follow the paths others have laid for us, than staying true to our own dreams. Did someone ever have a dream for you that you didn’t have for yourself? What did you do?
  • march 12/ achieving your dreams
    Dreams are those things that we would eventually love to do, but often doubt if they will ever come true. We believe that dreams don’t miraculously come true, instead they are the result of hard work and unwavering dedication to what we are truly passionate about. They are the result of countless missteps and wandering down the wrong path. That is until we finally stumble upon success. As the master of your destiny, what steps are you taking to achieve your goals. How do you plan on overcoming all that will be thrown in your way as you chase your dreams?
  • march 17/ the new american dream
    The American Dream is traditionally defined as the opportunity for upward social mobility, but it hasn’t always been accessible for our community. Today, the ethnic and racial makeup of the United States is changing rapidly and AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group. Greater visibility can have important ripple effects on empowering AAPIs in social and political spaces. How do you think a more visible AAPI community will affect how you access the American Dream to create a better future for your fellow Scholars, families, and communities?
  • march 19/ dreams of my family
    In Dreams of My Father, President Barack Obama writes, “For my grandparents, my admission into Punahou Academy heralded the start of something grand, an elevation in the family status that they took great pains to let everyone know.” President Obama was acutely aware that his personal achievements affected more than just himself - they extended to his family as well. As students and young professionals, you might be motivated to do well in school or pursue careers because your success may also open up doors for your family. How does your success play into the hopes and dreams of your family?
  • march 24/ asian american dreamers
    The Asian American community has been blessed with strong leaders - be they activists, scientists, artists, or athletes. Their stories may not be taught in classrooms or be well-known by the larger American public, but their leadership may have impacted you. Tell us about a past or present leader in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community. Who are they and what do they mean to you?
  • march 26/ visions for our communities
    We are all part of different communities - geographic, ethnic, career-oriented, and many more - that shape us and are shaped by us. In college, students are constantly being introduced to new communities with established norms and ideas. When you started at a new school, joined a new club, or even moved to a new city, you may have felt disconnected to your new environment. But, there are things that you can do to make it home. How have you created safe spaces to express your personal identity when becoming a part of new community?
visions for our communities

We are all part of different communities - geographic, ethnic, career-oriented, and many more - that shape us and are shaped by us. In college, students are constantly being introduced to new communities with established norms and ideas. When you started at a new school, joined a new club, or even moved to a new city, you may have felt disconnected to your new environment. But, there are things that you can do to make it home. How have you created safe spaces to express your personal identity when becoming a part of new community?

the new american dream

The American Dream is traditionally defined as the opportunity for upward social mobility, but it hasn’t always been accessible for our community. Today, the ethnic and racial makeup of the United States is changing rapidly and AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group. Greater visibility can have important ripple effects on empowering AAPIs in social and political spaces. How do you think a more visible AAPI community will affect how you access the American Dream to create a better future for your fellow Scholars, families, and communities?

/present Voice of the Month: Cindy Le

Every month, we feature a different member of our blog team as a /present Voice to formally recognize the value of his/her voice and their commitment to the blog.

This March we are excited to announce Cindy Le as our /present Voice of the Month! After participating in the #repOpportunity sign campaign at the GMS Leadership Conference in October,  Cindy has been a contemplative re/present blogger. From her posts on becoming more than statistic to her dedication to the STEM field and wanting to give back to her homeotwn of Camden, NJ, Cindy’s writing demonstrates her strong committment to live, learn and lead in the spirit of critical thinking and reflection.   If you haven’t read her previous posts, we encourage you to do so! But first, here’s Cindy in her own words—

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Cindy Le and I am a first generation college student who is a proud part of the GMS Class of 2014. I attend Rutgers University New Brunswick, hoping to earn my Physics degree with a minor in Social Justice and perhaps also in Comparative and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Aside from my studies, I do my best to be a part of the Rutgers community. I am a member of the Vietnamese Student Association, shadowing to be the Webmaster and/or Event Coordinator. I am part of the Public Relations volunteering team for the Mark Conference, a leadership conference that invites over 20 speakers from all over the world to share their mark and inspire students to do so as well. I occasionally participate with Verbal Mayhem, an organization that promotes a welcoming environment to share artistic passions, and the Rutgers Science Mathematics Engineering Outreach, an organization that provides local communities with STEM demonstrations and lesson plans. With all my efforts, I aspire to become a physics professor or teacher, start a non-profit organization to help inner city minority students with exposure to STEM, and work with a civil rights organization to advocate for minorities. These are big dreams, but as Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”

Keep reading

achieving your dreams

Dreams are those things that we would eventually love to do, but often doubt if they will ever come true. We believe that dreams don’t
miraculously come true, instead they are the result of hard work and
unwavering dedication to what we are truly passionate about. They are
the result of countless missteps and wandering down the wrong path. That
is until we finally stumble upon success. As the master of your
destiny, what steps are you taking to achieve your goals? How do you
plan on overcoming all that will be thrown in your way as you chase your
dreams?

ECAASU 2015 & Visions for Our Communities: Where Are We Now?

By Sadia Arshad, APIASF/GMS Scholar

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend, participate, and speak at the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) Conference in Boston, MA. This was my second time presenting at this meeting (read about my experience last year),  and was once again a weekend to remember.  

ECAASU is the largest conference for young Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in America and attracts other young people of color as well. It was a chance to host my workshop with one of my friends (Hima!) on South Asian/Desi/Brown/Asian American racial identity and the inclusion of South Asians in mainstream Asian American events and history.

Hima and I met each other at ECAASU last year. During the conference, which generally has over 1,000 attendees, we noticed that there were plenty of East Asians, but few South Asians or Southeast Asians and almost no Pacific Islanders among the attendees or speakers.  Hima agreed that this event did not reflect the diversity of the Asian American community, and so began our friendship and on-going conversations about race, class, gender, sexuality, and everything in between. We spent hours discussing the lack of racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, etc. diversity at this event and several other Asian American events. We both agreed that this wasn’t the first time this happened to either of us; in fact, we discussed how it is extremely common to attend “Asian American” events and realize that we—as South Asians—were not welcome. I also realized that I felt even more unwelcomed for growing up low-income, being Muslim, and discussing reproductive and sexual health publicly. And those who did not “fit into” a typical Asian American stereotype—those who grew up with a single parent, those who were raised in inner cities, those who are undocumented, those who are have a disability, etc.—were not welcome.

Hima and I vented and continued our conversation, but we wanted to do more than talk. 

Keep reading

dreams of my family

In Dreams of My Father, President Barack Obama writes, “For my grandparents, my admission into Punahou Academy heralded the start of something grand, an elevation in the family status that they took great pains to let everyone know.” President Obama was acutely aware that his personal achievements affected more than just himself - they extended to his family as well. As students and young professionals, you might be motivated to do well in school or pursue careers because your success may also open up doors for your family. How does your success play into the hopes and dreams of your family?

mana'o nani -- beautiful dreams

By Kehaulani Vaughn, Doctoral Candidate in Ethnic Studies at University of California at Riverside

Aloha no kakou,

It is my pleasure to be this month’s contributor to re/present. This month’s blog theme is about dreams – dreams for our families, our communities, our world, and for ourselves.

My dreams for myself are largely shaped by my educational journey. It was not too long ago when I started my undergraduate studies and realized how empowering education can be, not only for myself, but for my family and for my community. Being one of the few Native Hawaiian students at my undergraduate college, I realized that few from my community made it to college largely due to educational pipeline issues.  Because of this realization, I began to think and to dream about creating a higher education system that is more culturally relevant, is more engaged in community based research and scholarship, and can create researchers who can do the work that is needed in their own communities. As a current doctoral student with the goal of becoming a professor, I see this as even more important.

The training that higher education provides and the research it produces will enable the creation of programs needed to help our communities. In the education realm, we can create classes that empower underrepresented students that will enable them to feel that higher education is relevant. And by feeling empowered, one learns that they can take their education and knowledge, and make positive changes for the present and for the future.

Keep reading

asian american dreamers

The Asian American community has been blessed with strong leaders - be they activists, scientists, artists, or athletes. Their stories may not be taught in classrooms or be well-known by the larger American public, but their leadership may have impacted you. Tell us about a past or present leader in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community. Who are they and what do they mean to you?

following my own dream

Sometimes our dreams may not be our own, but the dreams our families or friends want for us. We may even feel pressure to follow the paths others have laid for us, than staying true to our own dreams. Did someone ever have a dream for you that you didn’t have for yourself? What did you do?

By Bella Nguyen, APIASF Scholar

I can definitely still recall what I wanted to be when I was in kindergarten. It was some time in the beginning of the year that my teacher, Mrs. Martin, handed us each a piece of paper and a box of jumbo-sized Crayola crayons. The assignment of the day was to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up and to draw something to illustrate that career. Instantaneously, I grabbed a black crayon and wrote down “Teacher.” I then spent the rest of the allotted time period meticulously drawing a classic red apple. Flash forward fourteen years, and I still take pride in that assignment.

I may have only been four years old at the time, but I think my answer to the task was thoughtful. I’m not saying that I still want to pursue a teaching career, but I do believe that I had my priorities straight. Growing up, the significance of education was constantly stressed within my family because my parents didn’t have the opportunity to have a higher education themselves. I saw the importance of a teacher not only as an educator, but also as a mentor and support system. Mrs. Martin had been someone I could look up to and turn to as a little kid, and I wanted to be the same in the future. 

My present career goal is to become a pediatrician, and while that’s not exactly being a teacher, I can honestly say that wanting to be a teacher earlier on in life played a role in this decision. I may not be dedicating approximately 10 months to a classroom full of students, but I will still be able to help children in reaching their full potential by tending to their health and making sure that they’re ready to take on whatever school has in store for them.

By Gretchenrae Callanta, Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing, Emmanuel College

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Lucy from Charles Schulz’ “Peanuts.”

I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I knew I wanted to be a doctor of some sort, but I didn’t like blood. Hospitals and doctor’s offices also gave me the heebie-jeebies. I liked the idea of having my own comfortable office with a couch and talking to people all day. I wanted to help people through their troubles.

Welcome to re/present, Kehaulani Vaughn!

This month, we are excited to welcome a guest blogger to re/present who has given so much of her expertise and time to APIASF and the AAPI community over the years, Kehaulani Vaughn! 

Specifically, Kehaulani has served as:

  • Scholar Leadership Workshop Facilitator for the 2013 APIASF Higher Education Summit
  • GMS Reader from 2010-2013
  • And, currently serves as a facilitator for OCA’s APIA-U 101 program

Kehaulani is currently a doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Riverside. Her educational background includes graduate degrees from UCLA in Education and Asian American and Indigenous Studies. She is the first Pacific Islander to graduate from UCLA’s Asian American Studies program. Her current research explores Indigenous epistemologies, settler colonialism, and decolonial and anti-colonial practices and Indigenous education.

She has been involved with educational access, outreach, and retention over the past several years both professionally and voluntarily. Before returning back to school, she worked at UCLA in student affairs as an Academic Advisor in Asian American Studies for undergraduate and graduate students, and also coordinated a federally funded Student Support Services program. She is a co-founder and current board member of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) based in Southern California and coordinates their EPIC Scholar program.

Be sure to check back tomorrow (March 26, 2014) to read Kehaulani’s reflection on dreams for our families, our communities, our worlds, and ourselves.