Do you believe in destiny? Or are you a proponent of creating your own fate?
As you may know, I grew up in Taipei and attended an American school my entire childhood. I’ve always known that I was incredibly lucky to receive a top-notch education, one that allowed me to grow up in Asia but also establish a career in the States.
But I recently discovered that one small decision could have potentially changed my whole life. Before I started kindergarten, my parents put my name into the lottery system for the Taiwanese private school they’d attended as children—and I didn’t get selected. Because of this, they sent me (and, later, my younger brother) to Taipei American School, setting the course for my education and life. I’m sure I would have learned English at a Taiwanese school and probably would have transferred to the American school in middle school, like many others did. But it was my elementary school years during which I made my way to the library and fell in love with books like Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, and Sweet Valley High, devouring up to five tomes in a single day. That’s when I learned to love reading (and writing)— and arguably set the basis for my love of the English language and my future career.
All this could have been been different if I’d been selected for Taiwanese school when I was 3 years old. So yes, I believe in destiny. There’s a reason my name wasn’t picked out of that figurative hat. But I also believe in creating my own path—I’m certain I would have found another career to work toward if English wasn’t my strongest suit.
As the editor of Mochi, I’m lucky enough to hear stories like this every day from inspiring entertainers, politicians, athletes, and entrepreneurs. For our Self-Made issue, which celebrates the various paths that people have taken to where they are today, I wanted to share these stories with you. From “Carrie Diaries” actress Ellen Wong to NBA video coordinator Natalie Nakase to celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi, we’ve got an incredible range of stories. And we wanted to explore what Self-Made means, asking girls around the country about their style and what it says about them. There’s nothing like the internet for making a name for yourself, which is why we spotlight our favorite bloggers and YouTube stars. We’ve also announced our very own advice column, Dear Mochi, for your toughest questions, whether they’re about relationships, careers, college, or parents. Write in, we’d love to help—and maybe set you on a path of your own.
Photo credit: Marietta Leung