This is how my “About Me” page used to look like.
Name: Catherine Pham
Institution: UC Berkeley
Minor: Global Poverty & Practice
If you read the previous five lines like I would have hoped you did, it would have sounded like some scene of a movie or something, with those sound effects? No?
This is the line I used to describe myself: Golden Bear. Dancing-around-the-living-room singer. Aspiring filmmaker. Creativity & practicality. Dreamer.
So, let me break it down.
This one is easy. I have been at Cal for nearly three full years now and I bleed blue and gold. I am so proud to have gone this university, and more and more I realize that this was the place where I am meant to be. I am officially an upperclassman, and it’s scary and exciting at the same time. As the reputation holds, I do take my studies seriously, and I overall have a zeal for learning (but not taking tests).
At first, I may come across someone who is very reserved and someone that is very into their studies. I am and I’m not. But, I’m actually weird, and once I become comfortable with you, I will sing all the time and tell you my life story. But, actually, singing and dancing (badly) around the living room is something I really like to do. To relieve stress. To practice singing. To pretend that I am actually musician performing to a live audience. This is technically a secret.
I believe that films and video are the quickest way, nowadays, to present information. Since high school, because that’s when YouTube became readily accessible, I got really interested in filmmaking and storytelling. I have always joked that I wanted to go to film school after I graduated college. It is something that I want to do, but it probably isn’t the most viable option for me. Unfortunately, I don’t do much of it now, but, eventually, I would like to incorporate film into the things I do. I aspire to be like Michael Moore or Katherine Bigelow, but I don’t really know what my future in film is going to be like as of now. I also like to write.
Creativity & practicality.
These two things are two things that I have struggled with my whole life. My parents had immigrated from Viet Nam because they wanted a better life and better opportunities for our family. Therefore, they always stressed that I needed to go to school, get educated, get a steady job, and be financially stable enough to always have good food on the table. My parents sacrificed everything they had and they still sacrifice all they have for the betterment for my sister and me. And my sister, she did all that my parents could hope for. She went to school, graduated as valedictorian in high school, graduated with honors from UC Berkeley, went to law school, became a lawyer, and eventually had a family herself. My sister lives a practical and secure life.
But, I am not like my sister. The arts and being creative call to me more than it ever did my sister, and I can never picture myself becoming a lawyer. Maybe because I grew up in America and we were always told that we can become whatever we want. But, I have (had) dreams of being a filmmaker, a writer, an actor, someone that carries out romantic ideals of life that may not be very practical in the long. So, I am constantly struggling with these two ideas because I do want to live a secure life, but I want to do enjoy my life. I just don’t know how to do both these things yet.
This stems out of the previous point. I am very much in my head. I very much was to escape reality and live the life that I conjure in my head. Be it a spy for the CIA. Be it an epic love story with the love of my life. Be it a successful career in Hollywood. Be it someone that has made a difference in the many issues around the world: poverty alleviation, inequality, discrimination. In my head, I am very ambitious.
But, life has a humbling effect, where you realize that you can’t do all the things that you want to do. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t dream. And it also doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy my life and make the best of what I can do.