I was born and raised in Elk Grove, California, a suburb located on the southern tip of Sacramento County. My parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in the mid-to-late 1980’s, and ultimately settled in Sacramento County with the rest of our relatives. Being raised by the immigrant generation, I have always had a strong connection and appreciation for my culture. Given the heavy ethnic diversity in Elk Grove – people of color make up over half of Elk Grove’s population – cultural shock was hardly ever something I experienced between interacting with my family and my classmates at school. I have also been fortunate enough to have not experienced any amount of overt racial prejudice, nor did interactions with my peers at school have a profound negative impact on me – at least at the time.
My first semester of grad school ended a week ago, and I’ve had some time to reflect on the past fifteen weeks. To be honest, I couldn’t wait until the semester was over, not just because of the long-awaited break I’d need, but I was also itching to write up a cheesy and flowery-worded blog post about all the things I’ve learned and how much the one semester has changed me and my life. With all of that being said, once I finally sat down to write up that blog post, I was hit by a freight train of writer’s block. Finally concluding that one semester of experiences was probably a little premature for a “OMG grad school is awesome and my life is forever changed and look at me and my awesome education” blog post, so I figured I’d try and do something a little more grounded, putting that retrospective blog post on the back burner for now. On my Instagram story, I asked what topics and questions would want to be answered about my experiences so far, and got a handful of good questions to answer.