My life in 3 Minutes
I’m a Global Nomad – born in Taiwan to Taiwanese parents, grew up in Japan, went to a Catholic international school, and now attending Santa Clara University in the heart of Silicon Valley.
My life never really started until I made the single biggest decision that has turned my life upside down – dropping out of high school. I was suffering from anxiety and depression, and I had no motivation or sense of purpose in my life. After leaving school, I tried all kinds of jobs and hobbies that interested me.
Dropping out of school marked the beginning of the most challenging, yet rewarding chapter of my life. I was exposed to all kinds of challenges that I had not been exposed to yet: learning to speak Japanese in a professional manner, cold calling hundreds of businesses in a day, and selling all kinds of things from phones, clothes, to real estates. Among all of the challenges, the biggest one was going to job interviews and trying to convince people to give me a job, while they stared at my resume – which only had one line under “Education.” On the job, I desperately learned and devoted myself to becoming at least 1% better everyday. Being a drop-out meant that I had to improve faster and perform better than anyone else. I learned how to cold-call and make appointments; how to sell things and retain customers; how to design the layout of a store to optimize customer experience and sales; how to take beautiful photographs; how to allocate time and people to different tasks efficiently, and the importance of communication beyond verbal. To me, being out of school was like going to a different school – one where I could study whatever subjects that I wanted, when I wanted, and be rewarded for it. I became intrigued by human behavior, the decision-making process, and how that is influenced by things like interaction, experience, design, color scheme, and atmosphere. By dropping out of school, I fell in love with learning. The more I learned, the more curious I became.
Around this time, I picked up photography as a hobby – which has now turned into one of my passions. What I like about photography is that it’s about people. When I got bored of shooting photos in my area and decided to look for new places to go, I realized that it’s difficult to google places if you don’t know the name of the place, where it’s located, or how it looks. So, becoming a photographer means striking up conversations with strangers, networking with other photographers, as well as traveling and exploring the unknown, which I find beautiful. The thing about photography that has continued to captivate me is that unlike other forms of art, such as sculpture, pottery, painting, or graphic design, photographers don’t really “create” in the sense that they cannot simply move or reshape buildings, objects, or people. The most we can do is to change our perspectives, and utilize only what exists in front of us. This taught me the importance of perspective and perception. Through photography, I learned that “The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.” At the core, a photograph is just a frozen moment in time. And yet, it has the power to help us mark and remember the precious moments in life, take us back in time, and most of all, make us feel. Photography is about cherishing connections, relationships, diverse perspectives, emotions, and memories. I like that.
Through dropping out of school, I fell in love with learning, was exposed to new challenges, gained confidence and resilience, found passion in photography, became intrigued by the relationship between perception and experience, and technology and design. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I was finally able to narrow down my focus: the intersection between technology and design, and how that shapes human experience and perception.
In pursuit of depth and breadth of knowledge, I got my GED, traveled across the Ocean, and moved to San Francisco Bay Area to attend a community college. I am now a Senior at Santa Clara University, majoring in MIS, and studying Data Analytics and UX Design on my own.
Whether in business or photography, I try to see things not as they are, but as what they could be – because the way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me!