Talking about common Chinoy values, one would normally hear traits such as “business-minded”, “family-oriented” or “diligent and hard worker” but we often forget the unspoken attribute of Chinoys as timid and modest individuals who would rather keep to norms that are tried and tested through time.
Although there is nothing wrong with this Chinoy characteristic, every so often it also becomes the reason why Chinoys are not the highest when it comes to self-confidence and why they’re not exactly keen on stepping outside their comfort zone. Nevertheless, with our changing times today also comes a change in the heart and character of Chinoys, even more so for those belonging to the younger generation. Chinoy student leader Katrina Danielle Tan shows that bravely going outside her comfort zone ultimately changed the course of her life and opened her up to opportunities she never would have thought was possible.
Being a student leader
More than being a college student under a degree in restaurant entrepreneurship, Tan maximizes her life in the university by being a student leader in a Fil-Chi student organization. Through this, she is able to open up numerous doors of opportunities yet stays true to her identity as a Chinoy.
For Tan, being a student leader is so much more than just another achievement to write down on her resume. Being a student leader for her means helping other students grow and realize their full potential.
“It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s really a passion of mine to watch people grow to be more than they ever thought they could be, where I can, whether it be by having a conversation with them or giving them an opportunity to experience new things,” she shared.
Journey to where she is today
Tan did not start out as a full-fledged student leader complete with characteristics such as being goal-oriented, a good speaker, communicator, and decision maker. Like most young Chinoys, she still had personal doubts when it came to her abilities.
“Something that I took to heart from a young age was that I was not capable of a lot. I wasn’t someone who grew up with the mindset of honing my own skills or finding a purpose. I was just getting by,” she said.
This did not get easier in college when she would see her peers and those around her finding their calling already. When she thought she finally found the opportunity for her, it did not turn out into what she was expecting.
“When I did finally find something I thought would be the path I’d pursue for the rest of my life, I was shot down and took it to heart once again and thought that, for the rest of my college life, I’d cruise by and not step out of my comfort zone again, for fear of being shot down so harshly,” Tan shared.
This was not the end of her story though, as soon enough, she found a family among her friends that would jumpstart her into the person that she is today. “I found a group of people who gave me a chance and made me believe that I could be more. There was no fear in pursuing what they told me was possible, as long as I worked for it,” she said.
Paying it forward
Realizing how much of an impact going out of her comfort zone made on her life, Tan made herself an instrument for others to experience this as well.
“Since finding that family and gaining the courage to continuously push myself outside of my comfort zone, I’ve done my best to do the same for others; to be the friend that everyone needs to get a running start by offering all the tools they might need,” she shared.
It was definitely not an easy feat to achieve but through her determination and passion as a student-leader, Tan was able to help herself and those around her maximize their capabilities and realize their fullest potential.
Resonating with the entire Chinoy community
Just like how she was able to go beyond borders and create her own impact, Tan shares that the same should go for the Chinoy community as a whole. “I think that any major thing we, as a community, try to do impacts who we are and our image among other members of our society. It might not be as big of an impact as we’d always like it to be, or as small as we’d like it to be, but it definitely creates an impact,” she said.
For those who are doubting whether they have what it takes to go out of their comfort zone, Tan shares a helpful piece of advice: “I want my fellow Chinoys to not be hindered by what they think is correct by older standards. I want them to understand themselves and what they need; what the people around them need, and what they can do to help them grow into their favorite versions of themselves,”.
Let Katrina Danielle Tan’s story be a reminder to not let the traditions of yesterday hinder you from reaching your full capabilities as a Chinoy individual today.
To hear more stories like these, tune in to CNN Philippines every Sunday at 8pm as CHiNOY TV once again presents inspiring stories from season 2 of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart. With replays on Wednesdays at 8pm on CHiNOY TV’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and Saturdays at 6:30pm on CNN Philippines.
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