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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

I’ve spent many days, months, and years wondering whether I’m good enough. At school. At work. At friends. At life. At everything. I think it’s a product of being the daughter of Chinese immigrants, who believed that I should get my work done and not be boastful. I think it’s a product of being Asian/Asian-American, and being stereotyped as quiet and demure. I think it’s a product of being small and petite, and not being taken seriously given my stature. I think it’s a product of looking young and feeling young, yet knowing that society doesn’t always value youth the way it values age.

But it’s been several decades now. And I’ve earned my Ivy League degree. And I’ve added a ton of extra letters behind my name. And I’ve developed a CV and a resume that are both several pages in length, filled with all the impressive work, volunteer, and leadership experiences that I’ve amassed over time. And I’ve cultivated a network of friends, colleagues, and former students across the country and the world, many of whom are major players in their disciplines, fields, and industries. And better yet, I became a dean before I turned 35.

And rather than wondering whether I’m good enough anymore, sometimes I find myself wondering what I can do to ensure that everyone knows where I’ve gone to school, where I’ve worked, what I’ve achieved, and who I know that they should know I know. I wonder whether I should display my multiple degrees in fancy frames around my spacious office. I wonder whether I should rewrite my LinkedIn profile and campus bio to reflect how accomplished I am. I wonder whether I should tag my super star friends on Facebook so others know we’re connected. And honestly, that’s a lot of wondering. And for what?

Does any of that convey what I’ve had to experience to become who I am? Does it reflect the sacrifices that my working-class parents made so I could go to school wherever I wanted? Does it capture the agony of being mocked for my skin color or complimented on my English? Does it reveal the frustration of having my comments, ideas, or presence dismissed because of how I look or sound? Does it acknowledge the combination of hard work, good luck, internal drive, and external validation that led me to where I am? Does it capture any of that which is essentially and fully me? In all honesty, it really doesn’t.

So life has become this daily process of putting myself up on a pedestal while thinking about what’s gone into the foundation for that pedestal. It’s about building myself up while keeping myself in check. It’s about making sure the world knows what I’ve done without me losing sight of all the challenges that I’ve overcome and all the mentors and supporters that have helped me overcome them. I can say and think I’m amazing, but amazing hasn’t been that easy to come by.  Maybe I should remember that. Maybe the world should know that. Maybe I should say something.


Image credits: Hoi Ning Ngai, Kenny Harris