Made in China: What is normal? 

I was never a good writer. During my time in high school, it never came naturally to me when we had to write papers. I was never the most creative and definitely never the most grammatically correct. People who know me or have ever met me will say I talk a lot. However, I’m not known to talk deeply about personal topics and definitely not the one to share them on a public forum. 

I started this column to share my experience dating as a young Asian American woman in her 20s with the headline, “Is this normal?”. As a college student seeking love, or whatever they call it now, obviously, I was on all the typical dating apps. I found out quickly that three out of five times many pickup lines were racially motivated. This was new for me. Some comments were funny, some not, and some were downright prejudiced. I learned quickly that men view me very differently than I view myself. 

When working for a college newspaper you get in the habit of writing and sometimes thinking “No one is going to really read this.” I was wrong. Within my first week of writing my first column and personal testimony, I was met with good, and bad reactions. Some in-person feedback thanked me for sharing my story, and some in-person feedback dismissing my very personal experience calling it “I bet it is so difficult being you.” Needless to say, publishing a personal piece was one of the scariest and most vulnerable things I’ve done thus far. I was told early in life any publicity is good publicity. And if you make people talk about what you wrote, then you’re doing something right.

I didn’t stop there, throughout the academic year I continued writing my column every Monday. Some pieces are better than others but this is a parallel of my life. Not every day do I feel inspired to get on a soap box and talk about serious social issues topics. I used this platform to discuss my personal life and used it to commentate on hot topics in the news. I used this column for advocacy and to raise awareness of oppression among the Asian community. I also used this column to simply document how I felt in this temporary stage in my life. Like a diary open for all to read, I had the privilege of sharing a piece of my life with you.

I am thankful that I work for a department that allows me to share my thoughts and feelings. I am grateful for those who supported me and pushed me to be vulnerable. And to those who have messaged me with kind words about my columns, you truly make my day and are part of the reason why I have a newfound love for writing.

Write to Julia Lin at

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