The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Growing up Asian American

This article appeared in the Fall 2023 magazine, Growing Up.

Asian Americans are a minority, making up less than 15 percent of California’s population. Students and staff at Woodside shared their experiences of growing up as Asian Americans.

For many years, microaggressions, such as people telling Asians they are good at math, or mocking the way they look, are a common experience that most Asians have while growing up. Different personal experiences heavily depend on the area, people, and time period. Since the gold rush when many Chinese immigrants flocked to California, the state has become more diverse with many ethnic groups. While this is the case, some areas are more diverse than others. 

“I lived in Orange County, [where] I definitely felt like a minority because there were not many other races [at the time]… I felt different [and] I was made fun of,” first-generation Asian American and science teacher Ernest Lo said. “All my friends were white because of the higher white population [at the time].”

Friends and community create a large impact on a person while growing up.

“Growing up as an Asian American didn’t really affect me all too much as I grew up in Palo Alto [where there are many] Asian Americans,” second-generation Asian American and freshman Derek Yee said “I never felt different because of my ethnicity as my friends and family were very inclusive.”

Many Asian American students found that throughout childhood, the time people spend with family can be very important.

“My friends varied while growing up and they [consisted] of different races,” first-generation Asian American and freshman Evan Pandes said. “My family is pretty ‘whitewashed’… and westernized.”

According to surveys by Buzzfeed and Asiasociety.org, a big stereotype is that Asians are forced to get good grades and be “smart,” but Pandes believes it really depends on different lifestyles, connections you make, and outlooks on goals while growing up. 

”My parents want me to be well-rounded, to work hard, and to be happy,” Pandes said. “There are [many] stereotypes for Asians to do good in school but [I never] considered myself in that group.”

Stereotyping that Asians are good at math, get all A’s, or have higher standards are common misconceptions, but can be true in certain households. According to ednc.org, Asians have had the highest grade point average (GPA) out of any other race, with an average of a 3.30 unweighted GPA and a weighted GPA of 3.96. Recent data from bestcolleges.com also shows that Asians had the highest average Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores in the United States with an average of 1229, while the country average was 1050.

“I was expected to take all the advanced classes and to get good grades,” Lo said. “It was a lot of pressure, [grades were very important], I noticed in Chinese families when they talk with family or friends, they would often brag [or compare] their children.

Growing up as an Asian American comes with different mindsets, expectations, and communities.

“I think my childhood experiences differed from other students, [especially in school],” Yee said. “My parents are extra hard on me when it comes to academic ability and performance since they expect me to do well.”

According to Lo, parents expect their children to do well in school because they want them to succeed in life.

“[At least in my family], there are lots of pressure growing up as an Asian American,” Lo said.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Chen, Staff Writer
Nathan Chen is a freshman and first-year journalist. He enjoys writing about world and political news. He hopes to improve his writing skills and learn new ideas through writing about them. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and spending time with family.

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