What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be going to college in California. I will be majoring in political science, while taking a pre-med track of classes. After earning my Bachelor’s degree, I will be applying to JD/ MD programs in the US. I will use both degrees to enter the health policy field and work to make healthcare more affordable and less discriminatory.
What is your greatest weakness?
I tend to have unnecessarily high expectations for myself and the people around me. I expect perfection without communicating about it. I create these unrealistic realities of how people should act and sign myself up for disappointment when society does not live up to my expectations. I have begun to humanize myself and others. I have utilized my sense of empathy to understand that everyone is flawed and the definition of perfection is subjective.
When you are old, what do you think children will ask you to tell stories about?
In the sixteen years I have been alive, the most significant event that has occurred is a global pandemic, by far. The highs and lows of living in quarantine for a year, the effects on society and societal expectations, the approach to mental and emotional health, and the reduced pollution rates. The Black Lives Matter movement has also been fascinating and incredibly inspiring. The country coming together in the summer of 2020 to battle systemic racism has paved the way for change and brought so many normalized issues to light.
What social stigma does society need to get over?
The unnecessary concept of gender roles has been an issue civilization has been facing since before our time. We assign characteristics, both negative and positive, to sexes at birth. We have been so conditioned and brainwashed that the most radical and irrational gender roles are seen as normal. We’ve developed implicit biases, acting as lenses through which we see female and male behavior. The basic idea is that women are seen as fragile, delicate, and beautiful. Men are seen as stern, tough, and rigid. This we know. What we do not pay attention to is the fact that these basic concepts influence how we treat females and males on a daily basis. Why is it still outrageous for females to grow out their body hair? Why is it still outrageous for males to wear skirts and dresses? Your implicit biases are telling you “Of course that’s weird, and gross, and nobody does that.” But use your logic and make the decision to conquer your inner thoughts. Question everything you were taught was normal.
What’s something people don’t worry about but really should?
Ever since we were born, we were taught to prepare for the future. We learn our letters, numbers, and colors, so we are ready for kindergarten. We get good grades during high school, so we get into college. We aim for a high GPA in college to get into a good post-grad program. Let us take a breath and live in the now. We watch our life pass us by in preparation for a future we won’t even enjoy. Take a breath.
How do you judge a person?
I judge people based on how they judge others. I cannot stand a person with a lack of empathy, because it allows themselves to shame people based on factors they make no effort to understand.
Which charity or charitable cause is most deserving of money?
I’d like to use this question to discuss what charitable cause is NOT most deserving of money. I advise readers to no longer donate money to cancer RESEARCH and instead make monetary donations to cancer patients and families of patients who are forced to spend thousands of dollars on treatments to survive. Cancer research organizations use millions of dollars on something that has yet to benefit cancer patients. Let’s say a cure for cancer was released to the public. How much money will a cancer patient need to cure themselves? Ponder on that.
What values are important to you?
I am not religious, and I have noticed I feel more comfortable around people who share the same views on religion as I do. Let me clarify, I respect everyone’s chosen religious beliefs. I, however, would rather not limit myself to one religion or set of rules to follow for the one life I have to live. It does not bring me comfort believing in heaven and hell as it does others. I feel as though the concept of morals is too complex to hold anyone accountable for any action no matter how wrong society decided it is. I admire religion and the backbone it has created for distinguishing between right and wrong. I find it fascinating all the scientific discoveries found in religious text, and I would love to learn more about that, but I have chosen not to devote myself to the beliefs. Civilized debate on controversial topics such as religion is one of my favorite activities, and if it is yours as well, you should look into TAP.
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
As I grow, I am becoming a more and more accepting person. I try my best not to make anyone feel marginalized or uncomfortable based on their identity or self-expression. I am normalizing aspects of people that society has not yet normalized and I am proud of that.
What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
My greatest accomplishment so far is winning the National Philanthropy Day Award for Youth with my friend Chris Hu. Back in spring 2020, we worked with a group of friends to start helping small businesses in Monroe County recover from the consequences of quarantine. We raised about $3,000, which we used to buy large orders from businesses. We donated the meals to healthcare workers at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Hospital. We met amazing healthcare workers, business owners, and eager, helpful students from schools around the community. We are hoping to get back in business, so stay tuned!