APIA 15 MONTH Recap – Former Co-Presidents…Gloria Chan && Jenny Yang !

We’re halfway done with APIA Month, so the time seems right for a recap of some events that have come and gone! We’ve experienced delicious food at the Deshi Paces Takeover, listened to Ruth Ozeki read the book that’s been housed in those Hello Kitty lunch boxes around campus, and heard Sasha Wijeyeratne (’12) examine the organizing and community building strategies of queer South Asians.

We were also able to invite two former SAO co-presidents onto campus to do what they do best.

Our first speaker of APIA Month was Gloria Chan, who served as a co-president of SAO during her time at Swarthmore and continued work in Asian American national politics for seven years. Since then, she has changed her career to being a life coach and leadership consultant. Two weeks ago, Gloria gave us a lecture on finding passion right out of college and developing a purposeful career as well as figuring out how to balance a relationship with parents.

Here are some quotes from Gloria’s talk that stuck out to attendees of her event:

  • “Gloria reminded me to stop and take note of how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. I really needed to be reminded of that because recently I’ve made it too easy to let stress and negative self-talk pile up. Hopefully now I’ll remember to take care of myself.  
  • “Do what you love to do”
  • Face life at your own terms”
  • “You are blessed by the upbringing your parents gave you; reflect upon that deeply, and often.

A million thanks go out to Gloria for helping give us confidence and giving us personal direction. We learned about the importance of self value and how to use it to improve ourselves and how we can approach parental expectations as APIA students. Come visit us again soon, Gloria! =)

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Last week, we were also lucky enough to have Jenny Yang, another former SAO co-president, come and perform a brief comedy show and deliver a talk.  Jenny is a stand up comedian who co-hosts a talk show with Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man) and entertains at various venues.
Jenny’s comedy show was hilarious, even if it was only for twenty minutes. At that point, she began to move towards the subject of her talk: storytelling. Some things we learned from Jenny:
  • Take advantage of the resources, experiences and opportunities Swarthmore offers.”
  • “No matter who you are or what class you are, take advantage of the fact that you’re at college and just go for the goal you’re trying to accomplish.”
  • “If you want to convey a wide range of personalities and characteristics, storytelling is the best way to do so. Storytelling is useful in not only telling people where you come from, but also in convincing people. “
  • “College is probably the only place and time in our life that we can explore our true values and talents. Never wait till we have completed our Asian accomplishment arch to look inside and realize that’s not who we are.”
  • “College gives you so many opportunities to try out new things without too much fear of messing up.”
  • We all have moments when we break down, only to get back up. But it’s important to take a moment, look back, and question if what we are pursuing is worth the stress. Find your true passion before you exhaust all your Asian goodness following the constructed path. “
  • “It’s easy to settle into a pattern where problems become seemingly insurmountable and to settle into the routine and the role of being a “good Asian.” But it doesn’t have to be that way – we can prioritize, we can get the help we need, and we can take action on causes that matter to us. We just need to make the push and make the change from routine. “
  • “While we sometimes become overwhelmed with work, we should also take a step back and appreciate everything. Rather than thinking that our social horizons are constrained by how our predecessors acted, we should always try to break out of our comfortable shell.”

Thanks to Jenny for coming and making us question ourselves and inspiring us to truly make the best of our time here at Swat.

Stay tuned for more event recaps soon!
love from your co-pub chair…
Ellen L ^__^

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