Sequoia JACL Scholarship Reception 2018

9 . 05 . 2018

A little over a month ago, I applied for a scholarship offered by the Sequoia Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). They highlighted the importance of applicants to have demonstrated passions in education, community service, civil rights, and cultural plurality. I have been binging in the personal development department and have applied my learnings in my previous volunteer opportunity at Go Inspire Go where we pride ourselves on making others’ voices heard — so, I applied!

Days have passed since and I have not heard from them. Was pretty convinced I had missed it since the scholarship reception was supposed to be held exactly a week later. 2 days later, I opened my email and there Mike was, announcing the good news to me!

It could not have come at a better time.

The scholarship reception was held at a Buddhist Temple in Palo Alto. I was over the moon; this location was perfect! April has been so good to me: receiving my (first!) scholarship, an upcoming feature on the Optimal Living Daily podcast, and am heading to Maui next week with my man to celebrate his birthday! It’s only fitting that I gave my Thanks here at the temple for all the good things that have happened and will happen.

With an hour to spare, I took some time to reflect in the Caltrain station. Initially, the recipients were told to give a short speech about what we have done, where we’re headed to, and our upcoming major. In the back of my head, I knew exactly what I was gonna say — except it didn’t turn out that way.

I went on to the stage and opened my speech on the topic of community. Few sentences in, my throat felt so dry and my eyes started tearing up. I laughed and apologized multiple times, and was really thankful that the audiences were really patient on waiting for me to finish my speech. On the stage, I was mentally preparing myself for eye rolls and for them to cut my speech short to welcome another recipient (to save me from embarrassment). However, that wasn’t the case. They were really encouraging and even came up to me after telling me how raw and emotional my speech was.

Lessons I’ve learned:

  1. It’s ok to screw up on stage, ask for forgiveness, and maybe crack a joke after.
  2. You don’t always have to over-prepare yourself. This particularly resonated with me. Lately, I have been constantly feeling like I have to be this before I can do that, which was inducing unnecessary self-doubt.

Thank you to the Sequoia JACL community again for this wonderful lesson. This journey has been exciting!

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