James Hock - MRH Faculty
2nd Generation, Asian American High School Senior Guidelines
By Haisyogtxhijtxhua Jet Y.
No one truly talks about the pain you deal with when you’re a senior–the pain from your constant underlying thoughts of your future after high school. Sure, some have set out their plan already, of going to college right after–usually it is people who actually want to pursue a profession that requires college. And for many, some don’t know whether to attend college, travel, take a gap year, or even go to trade school.
But if you’re an Asian American like me, your parents highly encourage you/force you to get a higher education-specifically a doctor, lawyer, or engineer; or else you are considered a failure, and get shamed and guilt tripped by your parents the rest of your life. And truthfully I don’t know if I want to attend college or not. I know I should go for the degree that can help with a getting a job, but I want to not get into the treacherous student debt. In an interview in the article Asian parents who stress academic success could be hurting their children, expert says by Zen Vuong states, “...where many immigrant parents want their children to become successful and win prestige…” Although, I know my immigrant parents didn’t just come to this country to have children who don’t do something with their life and have their family name be associated with the term crap-the old school blue collared mentality might have to change with the times.
With statistics from The National Center for Education Statistics, showing college enrollment percentages with Asians leading with 58% and the runner up Whites at 42%. To give perspective, I conducted an interview with a (white) fellow senior, Reece B.. He said, “My plan is, I think I am going to stay in Colorado for a year…save up money and move to Arizona…once I am in Arizona I’m just going to figure it out.” In another scientific interview, I asked my freshman friend at Austin Peay State, Mackenzie-who is indeed white-if her parents cared if she went to college or not, she replied with, “Nah my parents didn’t care if I went or not, they wanted me to be happy and make that decision on my own. I really wanted to go cause I love to learn.” Whether white high school graduates attend college for their sake or not, education after high school is normally not a huge deal to white PARENTS.
In context, the article Parental Influence on Asian Americans’ Educational and Vocational Outcomes by Donna Poon says, “Many Asians immigrate to the United States motivated by financial need, in pursuit of the “American dream” of greater employment and education opportunities for themselves and their children (Bates, 1997)...in pursuit of economic and domestic stability project their personal aspirations onto their children by ensuring their children’s academic success to the best of their ability (Yang, 2007).” Is my life really in my hands? Do I make the leap of faith and not attend college? It is scary to think about. Of course the world isn’t going to end if I don’t attend college, or even if I do, it won’t be the worst thing ever. I am in the land of the free, and most importantly the land of opportunity, but as an Asian American going to graduate high school soon, expectations sit high and detriments my mental health and many others like me, but whatever life is going to be, I will be in the moment to rejoice; life.
“Indicator 19: College Participation Rates.” Indicator 19: College Participation Rates,
Poon, Donna. Parental Influence on Asian Americans’ Educational and Vocational Outcomes.
Vuong, Zen. “Asian Parents Who Stress Academic Success Could Be Hurting Their Children,
Expert Says.” Pasadena Star News, Pasadena Star News, 28 Aug. 2017,