Kenny Jen

For the next 2 weeks, Exposure: Redefined will be featuring 6 AAPI stories from members of Hoya Break Squad – HBS, a student breakdancing group at Georgetown. Here is the first one:

Kenny Jen (Taiwanese American)

How has your transfer process been?
I went to UC Santa Barbara for my first year and I came here second year at Georgetown. It was nice that I came here in my second year because it gives me an extra year to really catch up and get used to the school. Transition was shocking at first because the environment and the culture are completely different. It was definitely way more lax at UC Santa Barbara, lax more so because it’s near the beach, west coast, the type of people that usually go there are usually pretty laid back. Here, there’s a huge emphasis on pre-professionalism. You’re in Georgetown, so the environment is also very different. I definitely feel the stress here, but I feel like it’s also nice at our age. For me personally, I need that type of pressure to really move me forward, so there are pros and cons for both sides. I like both.

Have you ever doubted this (Taiwanese American) identity at any point in your life?

Even though I consider myself a Taiwanese American, I usually just see myself as an American. The interesting thing is, I actually came from a town called Monterey Park which was 70% Chinese. It was very much a bubble and part of me going to Santa Barbara and leaving for the east coast was more so trying to leave that bubble, not so much leaving behind my Asian American identity. It was about seeing the rest of the world– taking a step back and looking at the bigger context. In terms of doubting my identity, I would say I’ve been pretty accepting of it. Now that I’ve seen what it was like in the bubble versus the rest of the world, I definitely see there are a few limitations or hurdles that I do have to overcome because I am Asian American, particularly with recruiting, college admissions, and social perceptions. Personally, I don’t see it as “oh this is bringing me down”, but I see it in a more optimistic way like people expect me to do this and look like that, so I want to blow past their expectations. You have to look in a different way but also be yourself. You do you.

Read the full interview on Tumblr:

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