Hometown: Yangon, Myanmar
Campus Activities: SMA, Reach Mentor, CDSJ, Lunch Buddy for Admissions, Big Sister in Crozier, VP of Asian Society
HCK: Hey, Winnie! Thanks for meeting up with us. The first thing we want to know is what inspired you to be a History major?
Winnie: Back home, I had a professor from Brown U who came to Burma and the way he taught history as so good. I just understood it so much better than I understood science and math, which is what my parents were pushing me to do. I think I found my calling, and ever since then, I knew it was going to be history. It was just destiny. The past really makes you who you are today, and what the world is today.
HCK: What’s the most difficult part about pursuing this field of study?
Winnie: Oh my god, the reading. I have like five books that I have to read every week, on top of articles. I have nothing else to do besides read. But our comps are apparently the easiest, which is nice.
HCK: Do you have any advice for aspiring History majors at Kenyon?
Winnie: It’s definitely an employable major. You can do stuff like work in the UN or NATO, which is what I’m planning to do. History covers so many things, like politics or law. Being a History major is just so much fun. Don’t become a History major unless your heart is really in it. That’s true for everything, but it can be so tedious and dense that it’s difficult to retain and apply. You have to love it and know it’s your passion, know it’s your calling.
HCK: If you could teach your own class at Kenyon, what would it be about?
I would want to teach Burmese. And how to pray in Pali, which is a dead language but I know how to do that.
HCK: How do you feel that being an international student has impacted your Kenyon experience?
I’m still getting over cultural shock and integrating myself into life in Kenyon and living in America. Going to school and living in America is very separate for me, and I’m still adjusting to living in America because the values are so different here. Everything’s overturned, and I’m still figuring out how people function here and navigating the social norms. Kenyon being so liberally sensitive is hard, because Burma is not liberal. People are also so loud here, it’s scary. And you can hear about someone’s whole life in a matter of minutes.
HCK: Is there anything on your Kenyon bucket list you haven’t done yet?
I haven’t done the Polar Plunge. I’m a coward, I can’t handle the cold. Maybe one day I’ll do it, but I don’t think I ever will because it sounds terrifying.
HCK: What is your ideal date?
It’s not about what the date is, but whom you’re going on a date with, that makes it the best or the worst. That’s so cheesy. But whatever that person does it doesn’t matter, even if it’s Netflix and chill.
HCK: If you could snap your fingers and be anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Oh my god Europe. Because I’m a History major with European concentration, and I know a lot of people hate Europe because of colonialism and whatever, but all the important movements and political thinkers came from Europe. Going back to where it started and seeing all those places is so beautiful. It makes it more real.
HCK: And lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for the First-Years at Kenyon?
Don’t be scared!