This independent study has been a big experiment for me. It’s given me the agency to create a self-directed project, which has been my biggest complaint about higher education (how it never seemed to be what I wanted to actually learn about.) I feel that the most important part to any class is the simple principe of reading things I chose and being able to talk about them with another person on a deeper level.
I was able to ask myself what I wanted to write about and was forced to actually follow through on those desires by meeting with Professor Chien weekly. By taking my dreams and testing them out each week (and finding out that they didn’t always turn out the way I had thought they would.) I thought that I wanted to write an entire cartoon history/children’s book of Asian American history at first (I totally did not really want to do this and a much better version: Escape to Gold Mountain already exists)! My blog about K-pop is so different, and yet I am not sure if I want to continue doing this either.
Conversing with Dr. Chien about my ideas and how plausible they were was very helpful during this process. I was able to flesh out a lot of ideas that I had thought about, but never really put onto paper. This semester, I wrote multiple blogposts in a variety of styles, applied to multiple internships and learned about many Asian American spaces/publications/websites that have helped me grow as a person or have shown me what potential is possible in this burgeoning area of media.
When creating art for my zine, I struggled with what I wanted to convey. Though my blog is about K-pop, most of the pictures I made were about Asian American identity: which has always been the core of my interest with the K-pop industry.
There are many reasons why I like K-pop, but the main one is that it puts Asian faces at the center of music, dance and movies– something that isn’t seen a lot in American media AKA the world that I live in. K-pop is an escape that makes the impossible, being the center of admiration/desire/glory, actually seem possible; which is why the two things are so tied up together in my mind and on this blog. A core theme of this blog is the question– Why can Asian entertainers make it in Asia/America, when Asian Americans haven’t been able to do the same? (I know I never fully answered this question, but I am proud that I have created a body of work where I wrote about things I actually cared about, unlike the other English/History essays in which I haven’t.)
some answers to questions i had
I learned whether or not it helps if writing about the things you love (K-pop) make writing about them easier (sometimes, but not that much easier.)
I also applied to 15 media internships and had a further interview/assignment from 2. I learned from experience that getting a job in online media is difficult and hard to get your foot through the door.
I also was able to see what specific areas of expertise are in demand at the moment (e.g. PR, business, etc.)
I explored how others reacted to my writing: I submitted essays to 2 websites (BeyondHallyu.com & Adolescent.com), but didn’t hear back from either. I was interviewed by ECAASU and had to talk about my blog and ambitions about this blog face to face.
what i have done this semester
- wrote about k-pop with an academic lens (BTS)
- wrote about k-pop with a social justice lens (SNSD, political activism)
- wrote about how the asian music industry intersects with asian american identity (R!CH)
- tweeted and interacted with others on Twitter
- commented on interracial relationships and the criticism they confer
- applied to 15 different media based internships
- drew/created some (embarrassing) zine art
asian american creative websites i have learned about/learned more about that are totally inspiring!!
- Sad Asian Girls (defunct 2017)
- Wing on WOW.
- Asian Boss Girl Podcast
- Giant Robot Magazine
- Philadelphia Asian Arts Initiative
- Banana Magazine
- Hey Miyuki!
- AAWW/API Institute at NYU/MOCA
- Museum of Food and Drink Chow Exhibit
The biggest problem with this experience is that I thought that writing about Asian American identity (through the lens of K-pop) might help me deal with my personal path of understanding. I think that I have learned what is possible from the Asian American creative community and how amazing/important those things do to fill the holes in my own life.
However, I’m not sure I want to continue writing about race in the future. Unfortunately, to only write about it seems futile. I want to go further by involving other people and actually making an impact. So it’s to be continued…
things i still have to do
- create a poster/essay for the ASIA network presentation in April