CWRU Thoughts


Stephanie Kim/Observer

The Case Western Reserve University community is known for thinking beyond the possible. Each week, this column aims to capture a slice of campus life.

Q: How did you get to this point in your life?

A: In high school, I would hear stereotypes about Asians, like that they aren’t social, sporty and that all they do is study. I spent a lot of my high school life trying to defy those stereotypes. I based my identity on sports and socializing—I was still a good student. Coming into CWRU, I wanted to do the most anti-Asian major possible, and I did not want to be pre-med, because that’s the stereotype. I wanted to major in music and foreign languages, but reality hit me pretty hard when I started majoring in music and wasn’t doing well. I just remember putting in so many extra hours, like waking up at 5 a.m. every day. I put in so many hours and wasn’t getting any fruit, and everyday I was so exhausted in my major.

But the one thing that stood out to me was science, specifically chemistry.

In high school, I hated it, but my neighbor in college asked me to help her with chemistry. I told her I’d try to help but wouldn’t be able to do much. I started to help her out with chemistry and started to realize that I actually learn the best when I teach others. People ask me questions, which makes me think about the problem in ways I’ve never thought about it before. Since then I started tutoring people in chemistry, just helping people out. I changed my major to chemical biology, pre-med. I started to realize that science is really my calling. If it wasn’t for the teaching, I wouldn’t be in my major now. I started caring less that it was an “Asian major” as my undergrad went on. Everyone has their gifts for a reason, and it’s best if you can use them to help others out.