IDENTITY: Opening up William Zhou
SYLP student

I was one of the older students in the Summer Youth Leadership Program, but age didn’t stop me from meeting new friends.

About two months ago, when I graduated from high school, I realized that I probably won’t see some of those people ever again. However, SYLP is sort of different. The people are local and should still be around.

Listening to Carolyn Yuen and Thach Nguyen was really inspirational. They proved that people can do whatever they’re interested in and still be successful. Most importantly, they are happy with what they’re doing. Coming from a traditional Chinese family, my parents want me to grow up and work a white collar job. I’m not saying that I don’t want to, but I’m still figuring out what I’m interested in. When I grow up, I want a job that I’m going to look forward to working every day. I want a job that my parents can still be proud of me for. I don’t want a job that would just make them happy.

A comparison I’ve come up with for parents is training wheels on a bicycle. They’re here to guide us when we’re young, but when we learn how to ride a bike, we don’t need training wheels anymore. I’m not trying to sound harsh and say we don’t need our parents anymore, but once we reach that certain point, we should be able to have the freedom of making our own choices. This includes dating, what job I should have, or even what classes I’m going to take. I have had serious talks with my parents about all these topics.

SYLP has taught me to become more social and confident when speaking in front of big groups. I used to be really shy and now I’ve opened up more recently. I see a lot of people that used to be like me in the past (shy and quiet), so I try to get them to open up more and talk to people. ♦

Editor’s note: The ideas here do not necessarily represent Northwest Asian Weekly’s stance.

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