Junior Vanessa Kan said that she strives to get away from “this rock,” and she wants to attend school at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. However, Kan’s tense relationship with her family might cause her to escape to the University of Pennsylvania instead, which is further away from Hawaii. Conversely, her family wishes for her to receive a higher education at one of Hawaii’s universities.
Kan would like to be a pharmacist, but needs to apply for many scholarships, including the Coca Cola and Hershey’s scholarships, to finance her college education. This process is important, since her family income is low enough to warrant free lunch and other benefits, such as fee waivers for college applications and SAT testing.
As her parents are separated, Kan and her younger sister were raised by her mom. Around four years ago, her mom married a man who lives in Vietnam, and conceived Kan’s brother, Jason Nguyen, who is now two-years-old.
Kan said that she and her stepdad are not that close, and she has never seen him face-to-face. “I’ve talked to him on Skype a few times, but we don’t have anything to say,” said Kan. “It’s awkward.”
Her family situation often prevents her from going out on weekends, as she is her brother’s primary babysitter. Kan said her brother “is always screaming, and the neighborhood is pretty quiet, so we’re scared of noise complaints.”
If dealing with her overactive brother isn’t enough, Kan also has to maintain her 3.8 GPA, juggle two AP classes, study for the SAT and ACT, practice for band, and assist the school’s tennis team. “It’s the Asian life,” Kan said.