Sometimes first friends become great friends; Tehya met Stephanie on move in day at NYU. Stephanie is a math whizz (Tehya's not), writing aficionado, and thrives in the fashion and entertainment business; She's got great style (Tehya doesn't😂), some of the most truthful advice, and lives a dream college life in New York City, but it wasn't always her dream. She teaches us that sometimes the best path isn't always the one you expect or work your entire high school life to achieve. Perhaps, she admits, that the unexpected and at times undesired is the best thing to ever happen to her! All in all, we want to be just like her, but we will settle for her great advice and her friendship.
Where are Ya from?
I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was 7, and then I moved to New York. After moving to New York I grew up in the suburbs of NYC in Westchester, but went to a high school in Riverdale, Bronx.
What is your Major at NYU?
I’m taking a double major in Economics and Psychology. I recently also took up a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology which I’m so happy I found and absolutely love!! I wish I could’ve found that minor way sooner or had time to explore other majors.
How many colleges did you apply to?
I applied to 13 or 14 colleges which was completely normal within my high school; 6 “reach” schools, 5 “target” schools, and 2 “safety” schools.
SAT or ACT?
I started with the SAT and studied for months for that, and after awhile my learning curve hit a wall and I couldn’t get past a certain score anymore. I just took the ACT once, and I was happy with how I did. I wouldn’t have been able to do well on the ACT without having studied for the SAT though.
Go back and give yourself advice during the college application process...
I have so much I’d tell myself. Firstly, don’t slack off, aim as high as you can within reason, be more on top of everything and work harder, but at the end of the day it’s an unpredictable process and you can’t expect anything.
Don't worry about other people’s judgment. I was so caught up in this ultra elite environment, and I felt inferior for not getting into an Ivy
League school or an elite liberal arts school. It was a tough time in my life going through all of the disappointment and embarrassment I was feeling at the time, especially coming from a family where everyone’s so successful, my dad went to Columbia for grad school and my mom and brother attended Stanford, so in my head I felt like everyone thought I was a failure, even though I know myself that I’m not deep down.
Also, take breaks and have fun!!! I wish I’d stopped stressing myself out constantly during the process. Go relax once in awhile!
What was your feeling going into NYU? Was there an allure of going to University in NYC?
I actually wasn't too excited about NYU because my application process didn't go well, but it was my best option. I went in trying to be as positive as possible but always kind of bummed. But, after some time I met friends that are now like family to me, and I made the most out of it.I'd say now that I can't see myself going to any other school and I'm so grateful life lead me this way, because I wouldn’t be where I am now or have had the opportunities I’ve had to explore my interests if I went somewhere else.
I wasn't too picky about college locations and didn't have a huge preference for where I went. I'm happy I ended up in NYC because I've gotten to know the city so much better living here and have truly fallen in love with it. I'll definitely be here for awhile!
So, we know you’ve got an awesome internship with V Magazine, what was the process of landing it?
It was pretty random and out of the blue! I wasn’t looking for it but one of my friends in my sorority posted that V was looking for editorial interns, and I thought it would be interesting to explore and different for me. I emailed them with my resumé and a short cover letter, and they got back to me asking for writing samples, past interviews, and article samples. I was just lucky I had experience [ed. note: as an editor for high school newspaper and magazine] from high school to put on my resume to get their attention. They were slow at responding but I was persistent in following up, and eventually they called me in for an interview [which only lasted for 10 minutes].
I love working there so much more now [ed. note: she is now intern to both the editorial department and production team] because I really feel like I better understand the working of the magazine as a whole.
Who inspires you?
I take inspiration from so many different parts of my life: famous figures, family and friends in my life, even from photography, literature, movies, or documentaries about various topics and issues. For example, in those weird in between years of adolescence and adulthood where I was having an existential crisis about who I really was, I read a lot of literature and explored a lot of photography that helped me cope with all the things I was feeling and that inspired stronger morals and values in me. Literature and viewing art really helped deepened my understanding of myself. Today, my friends inspire me to be a more caring person. Over time I learned that it’s important to put in the effort that you want reciprocated back in any kind of friendship or relationship. I’m lucky enough to have made friends who really enforced that idea. They’re such good people with big hearts and so much love. But overall, my biggest inspiration are my parents, who have given me a foundation that I’m so thankful for. My dad is the most hardworking person I know,
and my mom is the strongest and most caring person I know. She put all her energy and time into me and the things I did. She was the one who would wake me up at 6AM in the morning to go to figure skating practice before school, from the age of 8 years old to 18 years old when I became a senior in high school. She would drive me to and from school and skating practice, to and from competitions in different states, to and from piano lessons an hour away. She sacrificed so much for me, gave everything she had, and didn’t expect anything in return except for me to put in the hard work and do my best to excel in whatever I chose to do. I’m constantly inspired from things all around me, all the time, by anyone who has overcome hurdles to get to where they are through because they are so driven and passionate about their dreams.
What is one cause you believe in, and why?
I have always strongly believed in taking care of our environment and doing little things to help save our planet. [Small actions add up to make a big difference] I do things like always recycle plastic forks and spoons by washing them and keeping them for another time I’ll need them, I try to save water by taking short showers and turning the faucet off when I’m brushing my teeth or soaping up dishes when I wash them. I also always recycle paper I’m done with, and I always recycle boxes and bottles. I
always read scary facts about how places are running out of water and how polar bears are dying out, tropical rainforests are being cut down, or exotic animals are going extinct, and it makes me so insanely sad. I recently read that the East Village in NYC is going to go under water by 2100 or earlier. I live in the East Village, so that’s terrifying to think about. Take care of our planet! It gives us everything we have to be thankful for.
Where can readers find you?
@stephaniecge on Instagram! Anyone can reach out and talk to me about anything!
For more #CollegeConvos read about Berklee College of Music's Zoe Considine.