How I Developed Family Values

My immediate family was always close with my extended family growing up. This makes sense because they immigrated together and they supported each other, so there was always an emphasis on family growing up. Personally, my family values developed when I was a kid. My father is self-employed and was always working when I was growing up. He was only there financially and was absent from many birthdays, school performances, and other things you’d expect a father to be at. We never played catch as a kid.¬†One of my earliest memories as a child was this one time when I just in tears because my dad didn’t show up to something and he was also yelling at me to stop crying and to control my emotions, which just made me feel worse. I ended up making a promise to myself that if I ever had kids, I’d want to be the dad that I never had. (Disclaimer: I don’t plan on having kids anytime soon, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve never thought about it without having a huge smile. I actually used to joke about being a stay-at-home dad, but I think it might actually be a lot of fun, especially if you’ve seen me with kids.)

On the brightside, my mom was the opposite and she provided me more than enough love to make up for my lack of a father-figure. To be honest, it has at many times felt like it was way too much and was smothering me, but I’ve learned to deal with it because she’s honestly not going to be around forever. (A bit dark? Yes. Necessary? Also yes, because I believe that it is something that everyone should realize and this is why you should start appreciating the time with your loved ones now. (Today is probably the best day to do it, by the way!) It was also remembering this feeling of being loved that also made me believe in God again when I was going rough time transferring schools. I can honestly say that facing the reality of death inspired me to truly start living a life that I wanted to live.

TL; DR: If you don’t have your core values, then you don’t really have anything. (My highest core value is family.)

How I Became a Premed-Engineer

I am going into my senior year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and I am studying Engineering Physics. Both of my parents immigrated from Vietnam in the 1970’s. I went to a small grade school in a Uptown, Chicago. It didn’t have any clubs, sports teams, or a consistent art program. At the time, I hated it. However, I’ve realized that this made me develop a hunger for pursuing new experiences. In high school, I was a triple-sport athlete, took all the AP sciences my high school offered (they also made an award for it), and was two years ahead in math.

Fast forward to my sophomore year of college. I had just transferred from a small, private institution to a large, start school (Illinois) mainly due to financial reasons and being pre-med, it didn’t really matter where you went to school. Considering that I had a strong math/science background in high school and that Illinois also happened to be a great engineering school. I put in the work and had multiple overloaded semesters and transferred into the Engineering Physics program. It just happened to be the most flexible program where I would still be able to graduate within 4 years. I also happened to randomly live in a house full of physics majors. They had very different life experiences than I had and I’ve learned a lot of new things just by befriending them. I would mainly talk about sports, girls, and media with my friends from high school, but here people talked about topics like philosophy, physics, and politics at great length. I’m pretty glad to say that I’ve gained so much by just talking to a lot of different people and it has definitely shaped the way I view the world for the better.