October 20th Homecoming: Alumni Panel
Last Saturday was the annual Wesleyan Homecoming Weekend and FASA was fortunate to be able to invite 3 of its alumni back on campus to attend the Homecoming Alumni Panel, an event held for current batch of Freeman Scholars to learn about life after Wesleyan. Scroll down after the photos for a write-up about the dialogue during the event.
Here is a brief bio of this year’s FASA alumni panelists.
Hyungsoo Kim ’02
Republic of South Korea
BA in Psychology, Wesleyan University, 2002
MA/BA in Psychology, Wesleyan University, 2003
MBA in Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2012
CEO & Founder of Eone Time, Boston, MA, 2011 – present
Carmen Yip ’12
BA in Sociology and German Studies, Wesleyan University, 2012
Deutsche Bank Group, New York, NY, 2012 – present
Han Hsien Liew ’12
BA in College of Social Studies and History, Wesleyan University, 2012
PhD Candidate in History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 2012 – present
From left: Han Hsien ’12, Hyungso’02 and Carmen Yip ’12
A write up about the Alumni Panel
General Question: Please tell us about your Wesleyan experiences and how these experiences relate to your life after graduation.
– Han Hsien: When he first came to Wesleyan, he wanted to pursue economy and government major and he chose his courses accordingly. However, he realized he was not so much an econ person neither did the government courses really interested him. He discovered his passion for history after taking- Middle East: Rise and Fall of Ottoman Empire. This course changed his view of history: instead of memorizations of series of events, history is actually about interpretations from varied perspectives. In the end, he decided to become CSS major. [How does CSS relate to your current study?] Many PhD students in the history field have their mind focus on the topic they chose before going to grad school. He often heard his classmates complaining that they couldn’t find any course out of the whole curriculum that interest them. By contrast, because the emphasis on seeing an issue from broad perspectives of CSS, Han Hsien can understand the importance of works from different fields and how they can relate to his field of interest. Aside from academics, Han Hsien did a lot of Bangra through out his four years at Wesleyan. [Quote: Take control of the major instead of let the major dictate your life.]
Han Hsien’s comments about going straight to grad school in humanity:
People around are much older in general. The environment forces you to grow up faster, and there is less a sense of community; instead, you really need to make an effort to build connections.
– Carmen: When she first came to Wesleyan, she wanted to take all the intro classes for majors she was interested in- Sociology, Psychology and Anthropology. However, her advisor did not approve her plan, so instead, she took dance, music classes and all other “ very Wes” classes. Through those classes, she learned that everyone can be very enthusiastic about anything. She really respects people who devotes completely to any specific discipline. On the other hand, she encourages we should all take advantage of the free courses offered in Wes, such as music, foreign languages, etc. She considers taking classes in Wes is more of an exploring experience, and she finds that the basic skills, such as how to read, she learned from classes turn out to be very helpful. Besides academics, she involved a lot in interfaith events, where she not only gained experiences organizing events but also met a lot of people coming from different religious backgrounds that enriched her religious view as a Christian. She also involved in all different forms of culture performances. She never knew that there are actually so many kinds of Asian dances!! Although not directly related, her working experiences as RA, senior interviewer in admission office and other roles on campus are helpful to her current position in recruitment at Deutsche Bank, especially the sub skills she attained in those experiences.
– Hyungsoo: [Quote: if you are different, people pay attention to you.] He chose an uncommon area in Psychology- Sleeping Psychology- to study because he loved it. [Quote: you will always love what you’re doing; however, you must also recognize that in reality, it is hard to make big money.] After completing MA/BA degree, he went on PhD in sleep Psychology in Chicago; however, he decided to quit after second year of the program. The only choice he had back then was to go back to Korea and joined military. He was then sent to Iraq, which he considered the most miserable time of his life, but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. During the nine months of his stay, he had the opportunity to meet many social entrepreneurs, through whom he discovered his interests in business, a field he had never thought about before. The resentful nine months turned out to be an important turning point of his life. Despite lack of business background, he started working in Investment Company and learned everything from scratch. He went for small company instead of the big names companies because there was a unit in that small company that interested him. However, later, he accepted an offer from UBS, but was fired after three months when financial crisis hit. He was unemployed for six months before he went back to the small investment company he worked before and later went to MIT for MBA. Up until then, he always thought he had wasted the seven years studying Sleep Psychology. Then, one day, there was this big company recruiting, and out of hundred applicants, he got the offer during his interview. The reason: the next coming up project for that company was to develop a silent alarm to allow better sleep quality. [Quote: if you always try to only look for something that looks good, you might do well, but it’s very likely that you will become average, and you don’t necessarily like what you are doing. By contrast, you go for something you love, you might find yourself caught in stigma, but be patient. You never know what can happen years later.] Currently, he has started his own company designing watches for blind people. Again, a smart businessman will not go for something that targets on such small population and complicated technology, but for Hyungsoo, Wesleyan taught him to pay attention to the difference, and he wants to solve the problem. Even though there seems to be a greater chance that he might fail (statistically,) his experience will always be an assets to whatever he decides to do later. [Quote: Do not be afraid of doing something different. You might hit a situation like unemployment or doing something that appears not to be as great comparing to others, but it will be fine. Six months of emptiness on resume may seem a big deal to you, but in reality, it means nothing to other people. Most of the time, people focus on what you did and you need to trust them as well as trust in yourself.]
Some general Advice: take foreign language courses; not only a language skill, but also you get a taste of the culture. Study abroad.
Favorite courses of the panelists: Cecilia Miller- writing course, Brian Fay- social theory, Rubenstein- Intro. to Religion, Plauss- Social Psychology
Thank you all for coming and participating in our event. We hope that you have had a great time with our panelists. Hopefully years after graduation, it will be you, sitting on the panel, giving helpful advice and inspiration to the future generation of FASA members.
Also, we would like to thank our Panelists, without whom this event will not be a success. thank you !