David Vo, 20’s
New Orleans, LA
Medical student - I am currently in my last year of medical school at Tulane University. My responsibilities change each year. The first and second years were mainly focused on classroom based learning with intermittent opportunities for working with standardized and real-life patients.
In addition, I had time to volunteer in the community and get involved in research. The third year of medical school entailed working in the core specialties of medicine. Now that I am a fourth year student, I take electives to further my medical education and apply for residency. I am pursuing neurology!
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
My parents immigrated separately from Vietnam around 1990 to Washington. They met through mutual friends and ended up having a family including my brother and I. I was born in Washington as well.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
The strength of being Asian are the values of family and community. I have unrelenting support from my family in all aspects of my life. Whether I make a mistake or I achieve a goal, I know that my family will be there. As for the community, when we work together or simply see one another in public, there's a natural bond and a commitment to one another. We want to help each other be successful.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment thus far is making my way through medical school. I am the first in my family to graduate high school, college, and in a few more months, medical school. This is the culmination of generations of hard work and tenacity.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
I appreciate my family for allowing me to chase my own dreams and do what I want to do to support myself. Often in Asian cultures, there is pressure from family to go in a certain direction in regards to life and career. I had the freedom to take my own path and subconsciously, that relieved lots of stress.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
I speak Vietnamese fluently. We only speak Vietnamese at home. Now that I live further away from my parents, I can definitely tell that I am not as fluent as I used to be. I plan on traveling to Vietnam at some point in the future to brush up and pick up some vocab words I have lost over the years.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
My best piece of advice is support yourself and your needs. I am a firm believer in taking care of my own mental and physical health before I can help others. This allows me to be at my best to lend support.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
The greatest joy in my life is knowing that I have a loving family and fiance. I feel safe and secure knowing that I have so many loved ones that are rooting for me.
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Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
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