I'm a rising senior from Silver Spring, Maryland. My current, official "academic track" is headed on a physics-related trajectory, but I have always had a special place in my heart for the arts. I've been writing, dancing, and playing music my whole life and hope not to give any of them up any time soon. At Princeton, I've been a member of the orchestra and the Bhangra team since freshman year, and I've just recently been given the opportunity to write a creative thesis next year, which I am very excited about. Though I'll have to see where this project takes me as it develops, I've begun working on it this summer and intend to write a collection of short stories. As I'm working on that project, I'll also be writing a physics thesis; a lot of writing awaits me next year.
It's only been in recent years that I've begun to understand how much my identity shapes and challenges my desire to be a writer. So, one of the first things you may notice about me is that I'm a physics major. I come from a family of scientists--many generations of scientists, in fact--and I'm also the daughter of an immigrant; my mother came to America from China in her twenties. My mother is very supportive, so I wouldn't say that she has applied direct pressure on me to opt for a more "materially successful" career, but there have been subliminal, and largely self-imposed pressures that have made me feel as if I owe it to my mother to seek out a "secure" life for myself. In fact, I'd say it's mostly self-imposed; it's a sort of guilt that develops naturally when you see how hard your parent has worked, and when you begin to understand why she left her home--to find opportunities, not only for herself, but for her children. I'm also biracial, and I explore this aspect of my identity quite frequently in my writing: issues of acceptance, cultural divides, cultural unities, senses of belonging, issues of identity, the pain of leaving one's culture and home behind, lacking or finding community and kindred-ship, lacking or finding familiarity. I am still in the process of grappling with my own doubts--as to whether I should be a writer; whether I COULD be a writer. At Princeton, I threw myself into the process of becoming a physics major right at the start; it was only last year when the idea of "being a writer" began to phase out of a hopeless fantasy into something I could actually strive for. I am still working to convince myself that it isn't just an insubstantial dream. These sorts of doubts are difficult to shake; in many senses, they are a part of who you are. But I believe that perhaps if we work to create a community of people, who come from different backgrounds, who have doubts, fears, and challenges they are trying to face, then we can work to support each other. This is my hope for the Peer Mentoring program, and myself as a Peer mentor. If you're someone who has also felt that your personal background has a strong influence on your relationship with art, or if you've ever felt doubts about yourself as an artist because of your background, I hope that you'd feel comfortable talking to me about it! I would love to talk to you.