I see that you’re part of SHEDIDTHAT!, Zenerations, Ocean Location, and Her Campus. Could you tell us what got you interested in advocating for change?
After COVID-19 hit, I was stuck in my house with nothing to do. Nonetheless, this gave me an opportunity to expose myself to more organizations and platforms on social media that I have not been familiar with.
I started as the Design Director at SHEDIDTHAT! in July 2020 with the intention of advocating for women’s rights, empowering girls to explore their true potential, and take on life-changing opportunities with tenacity. Throughout the past few months, we successfully hosted a Women in Leadership Panel, launched our sister blog called InspiHER Media, and recruited team members from all around the world. We are currently hosting our second round of fellowship applications for any girls who want to create change through the power of journalism, digital art, and social media!
In August 2020, I became a graphic designer for Zenerations and landed a role as the Director of Campaigns and Development for Ocean Location. With a platform of 64 thousand followers (and counting) on Instagram and 140 team members, Zenerations has managed to become Gen Z’s most favorited account for activism and current news updates. As a graphic designer, I am tasked with creating on-brand infographics that highlight important concepts expressed in a specific article that is published on our website. During my time in this organization, I have enjoyed creating bonds with my talented and dedicated team members. As for Ocean Location, our small team is currently working on building a foundation for the organization and will be hosting team member applications soon!
Last but not least, I am a fresh face in the Her Campus community. Her Campus is “the #1 media site for college women, written entirely by the world’s top college journalists.” I currently hold two roles in Her Campus, one of which is a graphic designer for Her Campus at Penn State. I am also a Campus Trendsetter, who collaborates with brands and businesses to promote their products and/or services through creative content.
What is your overall goal in life? Furthermore, how is the path you’re going on right now going to lead you to your goal?
My overall goal in life is to be financially stable, live my life on my own terms, and continue advocating for communities that are not able to have a definite voice through my personal platform. Besides already being involved with activism and engagement, I am learning how to live independently and try things that are beneficial for me. As a college student studying remotely at home, it’s difficult to do things on my own (especially with traditional Asian parents), but it also gives me the opportunity to get a job, spend more time with family, and get accustomed to the college lifestyle, minus the dorming.
You seem interested in graphic designing. What made you gain interest in graphic design?
I started graphic designing in my senior year of high school for my Leadership class and it just took off from there. As I got more familiar with graphic designing applications, I started to develop an interest in it. With more experience, I was confident enough to start displaying my work through the organizations I work with today. I sort of also consider graphic designing a way of expression. Just like art, every blank page—or should I say, canvas—is transformed into a finished product that is representative of my skill set, personality, and style.
Who have been your biggest role-models or resources in times of unsureness, grief, and healing?
In the dark times of my life, I heavily rely on the tight-knit relationships I have with my close friends and significant other. I find it very helpful to be communicative and open about my feelings and emotions. Although, I do believe that reflecting independently and just taking time to focus on myself will better increase my overall mood. I usually like to turn to music and personal care to take my mind off things and escape reality once in a while, whether it be doing my makeup at home, drawing, or even watching Netflix.
How has the pandemic affected you mentally?
When the pandemic hit, I was currently in the middle of my senior year of high school. With so much uncertainty, I was really disappointed and devastated about the fact that I would not be able to walk across the stage or see my favorite teachers one last time. I wouldn’t say that the pandemic really took a large toll on my mental health, but I did experience a feeling of loss for quite some time. I found it really difficult to adapt to a new way of living, especially with virtual learning. Staring at my computer for the majority of the day definitely made my eyesight a lot worse. Knowing that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel really motivates me every day to continue to do what I do best and allow myself to learn and grow along the way.
What are the most beautiful things about life to you?
To sum it up, the most beautiful things about life to me is definitely the nature that surrounds us and the relationships we form with people in our community. These meaningful relationships that we cultivate often lead to open doors and unexpected opportunities in our lifetime. Need to mention, the success and innovations that are achieved are almost always a result of individuals who have cultivated strong connections with each other, and even themselves.
Do you believe that the stigma around mental health has decreased to a notable extent in your community? What may be the reason for this?
I feel like the stigma around mental health has greatly decreased in my community. Nowadays, schools and workplaces are emphasizing the importance of mental health, which I really appreciate. This is probably due to the large numbers of suicides and self-harm incidents our country has seen annually. However, I still do believe that certain cultures ignore the importance and role that mental health plays in our physical health.
As an Asian-American, I grew up with very traditional parents who always expected that I would excel in school. They would consistently discipline me for dishonorable actions and create a very tense environment every single time. With the pressure and restrictions that were placed upon me, I began to really struggle with my mental health. I feel like many other teenagers who grew up with traditional parents can relate to me on a personal level. For Asian parents [and maybe others], they seem to shy away from topics that they are uncomfortable to address such as mental health, dating, and even sex.
What does mental health mean to YOU?
There are many ways to interpret the meaning of mental health. Mental health to me reflects my overall well-being. Because without a healthy mindset, I am not able to physically motivate myself to do the simplest of tasks. I consider my mental health to be sort of like the nucleus of the cell—it essentially is responsible for the DNA of my wellness and regulates the inner workings of my feelings and emotions.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell Revive’s audience?
Whatever you do, don’t do it for the satisfaction of others, truly do it for yourself. You deserve it! Thank you for sticking around and reading my Revive interview!