May 31, 2007
Written by C.N.
I’ve posted before about the huge pressure on Asian Americans — particularly young people — to achieve material success in American society. Too often, those pressures to live up the “model minority” image lead Asian Americans to commit suicide or harm others. But as the Contra Costa Times reports, such pressures may have led an 18 year old Korean American to pretend that she was a Stanford freshman:
An 18-year-old Fullerton woman spent the past eight months posing as a freshman biology major at Stanford, buying textbooks, sneaking into meals and even moving into a dorm with an unsuspecting roommate. Because she never had a Stanford ID or a school-issued dorm key, she got in and out of her dorm by climbing through the first-floor window.
Her story started unraveling this month, and now the university — and her stunned circle of friends and dormmates — are looking back on how a woman described as a sweet student could have pulled off such a ruse. . . . Her story has set off a storm of reaction on campus, with some students disturbed by an apparent security lapse and others wondering whether the high pressure of academic achievement was a factor in why Kim sneaked into the elite university.
Although the article does not specifically note it, I am going to guess that the student, Azia Kim, was rejected by Stanford but was too ashamed to tell her parents, who undoubtedly had huge plans for her going to such an elite school like Stanford. Therefore, she went ahead and pretended to be just another regular Stanford student in order to not disappoint her parents.
If this is indeed her story, I can’t help but to feel very sad for her. Yes she made the wrong decision and deceived a lot of people who trusted her, but she obviously felt desperate under the weight of all the pressure and expectations foisted upon her by her parents and by American society’s image of Asian Americans as the super-smart, high-achieving “model minority.”
I hope her story is a lesson to all young Asian Americans out there — be realistic and be honest, with yourself and with your parents.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Asian American Pretends to be a Stanford Student" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/05/asian-american-pretends-to-be-a-stanford-student/> ().
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