David Chang & Janice Anderson


david chang & janice anderson

“Do right by them…because they did right by me”

 David discusses with his mentor Janice Anderson what his family did for him as a child.

 

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“Do right by them…because they did right by me”

David:  Friend, Student
Ms. Anderson:  Mentor

David: The first way of looking at the term “first generation” is how it speaks, how it resonates with me on a personal level. So, knowing that my parents came here in ‘94, together in San Diego, and uh, knowing that the reasons why they came here, uh, kind of gives me a sense of expectations. Not because they were pressuring me to, like, attend these prestigious institutions, but more like, I wanted to do right by them, because they’ve done right by me.

Uh, I remember a time in my life, where uh, you know, my mom would always tell me, like, to – it was important to work hard but also important to have dreams, right? You know, not, to think about achieving those dreams, even if they’re implausible in the moment and always to keep working towards those dreams.

So, you know, um, we weren’t necessarily in the best economic situation at the time. And still, right now, we’re sort of struggling a little bit. But uh, back when I was young my mother would take us to the library all the time, she would like – she had these little cardboard boxes that she would uh paste over with wallpaper, and we would load books into them and then bring them home cause we couldn’t afford to buy all those books at the time. So we made like biweekly trips to the library, land we’d load up on these books, and then come home and read them.

Note about copyright, attribution, and citation:  StoryCorps holds the copyright to the audio recordings of interviews and to the photographs of the participants; StoryCorps has licensed limited use of those to the Bureau of Study Counsel/Harvard University.  Harvard University owns the copyright to all other material on the First-Gen Voices website (bsc.harvard.edu/first-gen-voices).  Quotations of the transcripts and translations of interviews from the website by parties other than StoryCorps and the Bureau of Study Counsel should be attributed/cited as follows: “This excerpt is from a website created by the Bureau of Study Counsel of Harvard University with interviews recorded by StoryCorps (www.storycorps.org), a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity's stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”

 

 


david chang & janice anderson

“Give it a shot…why not?”

Ms. Anderson talks about the importance of education in children’s lives.

 

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“Give it a shot…why not?”

David:  Friend, Student
Ms. Anderson:  Mentor

Ms. Anderson: It was always important to me that the primary focus of education was the student, the young person. And I based my whole career around that – to establish relationships. And the kids today are no different than they were 39 years ago. They respond to an educator that shows interest. And, it’s true, authentic interest. Concern, being there for them, that they know that that person is in their corner and will not – sometimes, I do tend to be a little too maternal and coddle – but, at the same time, to push. To see what they’re capable of, and to encourage, and that’s why for the last nine years when I was the counselor for the IB [International Baccalaureate] program, my whole focus was, no, every child doesn’t need to apply to an Ivy League school, but, who’s to say?  Give them, give it a shot – why not?

Note about copyright, attribution, and citation:  StoryCorps holds the copyright to the audio recordings of interviews and to the photographs of the participants; StoryCorps has licensed limited use of those to the Bureau of Study Counsel/Harvard University.  Harvard University owns the copyright to all other material on the First-Gen Voices website (bsc.harvard.edu/first-gen-voices).  Quotations of the transcripts and translations of interviews from the website by parties other than StoryCorps and the Bureau of Study Counsel should be attributed/cited as follows: “This excerpt is from a website created by the Bureau of Study Counsel of Harvard University with interviews recorded by StoryCorps (www.storycorps.org), a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity's stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”

 


david chang & janice anderson

Vision of education

David shares with Ms. Anderson his observations about how differences in education have affected change in his family.

 

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Vision of education

David:  Friend, Student
Ms. Anderson:  Mentor

 David: [My mom] would always tell me how, how much hard work was going in from both of us. She would, she made sure, made sure I go to tutoring and, you know, she would always talk about how I shouldn’t worry about, you know, how much the prep was costing or the AP [Advanced Placement] tests were costing or, you know, all these other things because once I get into college, you know, they’ll, they’ll pay for most of my academics.

And she very strongly believed in, you know, this American dream vision of education. She was talking about how, especially in Korea, in her experience, the generational gap between rich students who’d raise their own kids and poor students who raise their kids, and their gap in like education and like intellectual ability and capacity was like widened, you know? And she always thought that when she came to America that one of the things she would do for her children is make sure that they would get a good education – because that was supposed to be, you know, this egalitarian measure – and make sure that we got a good opportunity.

And she, you know – now that I’m at college and now that Grace, my sister, is about to graduate high school in a year – she’s always talking about going back to school and making sure she gets a degree or something, you know. Because that’s, that’s been a dream of hers, and I’m glad that when I got accepted to Harvard, that I could validate some of that – some of her desire to get an education, you know? Because it’s been so long for her, and she’s wanted it for so long, but she’s never had the chance to do it, you know, because of extenuating circumstances.

Note about copyright, attribution, and citation:  StoryCorps holds the copyright to the audio recordings of interviews and to the photographs of the participants; StoryCorps has licensed limited use of those to the Bureau of Study Counsel/Harvard University.  Harvard University owns the copyright to all other material on the First-Gen Voices website (bsc.harvard.edu/first-gen-voices).  Quotations of the transcripts and translations of interviews from the website by parties other than StoryCorps and the Bureau of Study Counsel should be attributed/cited as follows: “This excerpt is from a website created by the Bureau of Study Counsel of Harvard University with interviews recorded by StoryCorps (www.storycorps.org), a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity's stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”

 

 

first-gen voices

First Gen Voices

The Bureau of Study Counsel collaborated with StoryCorps to record conversations between first-generation-to-college Harvard College juniors and their parents (or other members of their family or community).

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