If you're reading this, you probably got here from one of National APAMSA Social Media Director Linh Vu's posts. Whenever someone has something to publicize or needs help from a wider audience, it is often Linh who puts that publicity package together. Linh is also one of National APAMSA's longest serving members, joining as a pre-med and continuing with her national involvement since then.

[APAMSA] What is your name?
[Linh] I have a lot of names, which one do you want?
Tell us how you settled on the one most people know you as
Well this is a random fact- my name is really long and has 3 ways to say it. My formal one is 4 names long, with 2 middle names. Then I have my school name which is condensed, one word is removed. Then my American name, my legal name, is just first and last name. So there are 3 variations of my name. And it gets a bit confusing since my school ID says one thing but my official documents since I became a citizen say another.
What’s the longest one?
Vu Hoang Vuong Linh. Which means I’m a spiritual bird, I guess.

Now that I know who you are, what’s your role in APAMSA right now?
I’m the National APAMSA Social Media Director. I love this role because it allows me to have so much time to myself for passion projects while also doing something that I actually love. Ever since Myspace was a thing, I learned how to do html coding, layouts, and how to build websites and stuff. From there, I went to Xanga, which was pretty fun to make my own. I used what I learned from Myspace there and eventually to other platforms like Blogpost, Tumblr, and now Facebook. Honestly, Myspace was the most fun because to make my own layouts and designs I had to learn things like Photoshop and html.  That was really fun. It was fun using something more sophisticated than MS Paint… which is now gone 🙁 I guess no one uses Paint anymore. I really want to learn other programs like Adobe Illustrator and more video editing programs. They seem super fun to play around with that would use a new set of skills that I can bring to other organizations.

How did you get started with your involvement with APAMSA?
I got started through UCI’s undergrad APAMSA chapter. At the time I was looking for a premed organization to join. I wanted an organization that I could participate in on a deeper level than just membership. APAMSA at UCI was great because I was treated like family there. We did a lot together like going on outings, going to the APAMSA National Conference, participating in their pre-med days. That’s what I really liked about APAMSA. I joined the national organization in 2014 as pre-med director. I became social media director the year after and stayed with that since then.

What’s one challenge you face as social media director?
One of the things that can go wrong is with copyright content. I’m paranoid from scary stories about getting sued over posting something with copyrighted material. People are so adamant about suing these days that I’m paranoid about that.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in APAMSA so far?
I think I’m most proud of being co-chair of pre-med day at the National Conference. It was my first year being on the conference team and on national board. It was really scary at the time because I didn’t have much National APAMSA experience at the time. I had a hard time communicating with people. I honestly felt a bit intimidated being around all these med students as a pre-med at the time. I sometimes wasn’t sure how to say things about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I think being part of the National Conference team made me feel a lot better because I was able to interact with them in general. I had a great experience with them and they really helped me realize my vision of how to plan pre-med day at the conference. Working with them, I really grew as a person and I’m glad I had them with me to get through that experience.

What do you think is the toughest part of your job right now?
I think it’s been tough putting together posts that balance getting a message across while considering what parties might disapprove of the content. Our mission is to support and help people, but some of that impact is cancelled out if we upset people with some of our content. But if we limit what we do too much, we also limit our potential to take action. It’s been a learning experience seeing past my own opinions and arguments sometimes to make decisions that are best for us as an organization.

Tell me about your life before now
I was born in Vietnam, in Saigon. I came here [the United States] when I was 8. I think 8 was an awkward time to come here since I had a lot of catch-up to do with friends and school. I was really proud that I was chosen to deliver a speech for my 5th grade promotion, and again at 8th grade, and again as a senior in highschool. Whenever I had difficult times, I thought back to when I first came to this country and how I overcame that initial transition. It makes me proud that I reached where I am today from there.

What are some of your hobbies?
Ahhh I have so many hobbies. I love to dance. I never seriously trained to do it, but I really love to learn new dances- jazz, ballet, hip hop, anything. I love love love fashion. I’m a really chea- Financially efficient person. Fiscally conservative. I love sales. So every time I find an outfit I like, I don’t buy it right away. I go back and check to see how the price changes and I’ll eventually buy it when it’s at the lowest. I’m patient about the things I want to buy and it’s really satisfying to get something after it’s been discounted. It’s just a fun thing to do.
Any shopping tips?
Of course. One - buy stuff off-season. Two - whenever you go to Target, don’t buy things right away. Things there always go on sale.

Any hobbies you want to pick up?
I really want to pick up cooking. I really want to pick up cooking because there’s a lot of food that we traditionally eat is very… unhealthy. Soy sauce, fish sauce, etc. I want to learn cooking so I can learn how to cook healthier and have a better idea of what I’m eating. I want to pick up crocheting because I really like making meaningful gifts for people, something from the heart. And it’s fun haha.

When did you decide you wanted to study medicine?
I think I liked science and stuff first. I was studying bio-sci when I started college. During college, my grandpa had a stroke. I was his health navigator and translator during his treatment because no one else in my family really knew anything about how to take care of him as a patient. I picked up some of that to take care of him. During that experience, I started thinking about how studying biology and science came to how we take care of people. I think that really helped me when I was helping grandpa and made me think about using my interest in science in that way in the future.

What do you think is the biggest AAPI health issue right now?
At some point during my grandpa’s treatment I realized how lucky he was to have access to healthcare and also be with people who understood him. I went into my community to learn about others in similar situations. I learned a lot about the less tangible parts of healthcare. The science and medical stuff we learn doesn’t help if the patients go home and do something according to their traditional methods instead. The balance of learning everything as well as being able to get the message of care across to be used, sometimes against traditional resistance, together make up how a person will be cared for. I don’t think this is unique to AAPI cultures, but it is very prevalent in my experiences with them.

If you hadn’t ended up in the medicine direction, what would you have wanted to do?
I love weddings. I’m a sucker for new beginnings and happy endings. Since I was a little girl, I always pictured what my wedding would be like and what my best friend’s wedding would be like. There’s this one street that is specialized for selling wedding dresses. I would be so happy walking down that street every day to look at the wedding dresses. During my time off from school, I really wanted to take a step back from medicine. I have a friend who is a wedding coordinator, and she let me be her assistant. I learned a lot about the industry and the business of running that kind of company. I got to learn so much about stuff like photographers, cakes, DJs, etc. All the small details that go into making such a large lavish event we call weddings. I love the planning and organizing part, but most importantly I love the wedding part.

What song do you have on repeat right now?
I don’t put songs on repeat, per se, since I don’t want to wear them out. But I do have a song that I will never skip if it happens to come up and that’s My Boo by Usher and Alicia Keys.

What first world problem are you dealing with right now?
My family shares 1 gig of data each month and I hate it! My family doesn’t know what it means to not waste data. I’m very frugal with my data and always look for wifi when I’m out but my parents use data nonstop. They Skype, facetime, load pictures, etc. My data allowance is gone in like 2 weeks so it’s torture for half the month.

If someone just met you, what story would your friend tell to introduce you?
Well, I have three main roles in my life. I’m a student, I study all the time chasing that MD. I’m a daughter, so lots of parents going in and out of my room asking what I want to eat. And I’m a compassionate learner because I’m always open to learning new things, whether I agree with them or not, whether I’ve been exposed to them or not, and whether I want to learn about them or not, I accept them all. My mind is open to all the possible things I can learn in this world. This sort of counts, but also when I did pageants, I did a lot of fashion charity shows that raised money to support different causes. Like one I did was raising money for wheelchairs for veterans. That one was really fun because I got to de-stress a lot. I got to be really girly, do makeup, wear nice things and basically not be a slob in my PJs. It helped me remember that I’m more than just a student, I’m more than just a girl in PJs holding binders of books.

What got you into doing pageants and stuff?
My dad loves the performing arts so he’s been pushing me into doing dancing, singing, and basically anything that puts me on stage. When I was 6 or 7 I emceed a show and I loved it. I love being on stage. I get that adrenaline rush when I’m on stage and all eyes are on you and you’re like entertaining them somehow. So I did this pageant because it was a great chance for me to show off how much I know about Vietnamese culture, since it was a Vietnamese pageant, and I got to participate in a lot of their community events. Also for money for school. That’s probably a bigger reason.

What’s something you do that not many would find amusing?
I like collecting stuffed animals, each with its own memory. There are so many memories in them. I don’t plan on getting rid of any of them because I don’t think anyone can appreciate any of them like I do.
How about that one?
So this is Sandy. I got her at a carnival at Santa Monica. I hate taking risks. I hate spending money on potentially getting nothing. So at Santa Monica they had arcade games and they had whack-a-mole there. Now, I freaking love whack-a-mole. I own at that game. When I saw that game I went crazy. It’s something I actually like, so if I lose I will not be sad because I actually had fun playing it. So I paid a few dollars and I won her!

What TV shows are you watching right now?
I’m actually not watching any shows right now. Trying to maintain those A's in my classes. But when I used to, I liked to watch gentler sitcoms like Baby Daddy, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory. I did watch some serious ones like Game of Thrones and Person of Interest. I’m really bad at binging. I mean I’m really good at it, so it’s really bad. Oh I also used to watch Once Upon a Time, since I love fairy tale stuff. But my all time favorite that I can watch any time is Friends.

What makes you laugh the most?
A child’s laughter. I love working with kids. I want to be a pediatrician eventually. A child’s laughter is just so pure, innocent. Just so full of life. There’s so much that could be behind an adult’s laugh, but with children you know it’s out of real happiness. When I tutored 1st through 4th graders, I had like 10 of them per session. The best thing I heard from them was their laughter because it felt like they were happy to be there. It was very warming to me when I put together their lesson plans and stuff because tutoring was probably not their top way to spend their day, so when they laughed or even giggled it made me feel like I was actually having them enjoy themselves in that environment. It really made my day.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow APAMSA members?
A message I want to say to APAMSA members is whatever you’re doing now, whatever obstacles you’re trying to get through- own them, face them, and be the strongest version of yourself to overcome these things. At every point in our lives there are new challenges to face. At each new level we reach there’s a new set of challenges. There’s always new stresses no matter where you’re at and it’s ok to stress out at the moment but just close your eyes and always push yourself forward no matter what happens. Just know that the world is more loving and kind than you think.

In this article

Linh Vu

UC Irvine

Hello everyone! I am from Southern California, Orange County to be exact, and I absolutely love everything about SoCal! You can take me out of SoCal, but you can never take SoCal out of me. I also love to find new food/boba places and hidden gems wherever I go.

You do not know how thrilled I am to be the Social Media Director for National APAMSA! Since I just let out the secret, you do know now. Social media has been growing exponentially and it amazes me that we do everything through social media. We receive news and communicate through from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Snapchat. Thus, I will make sure that all APAMSA-related news and updates will be available at your finger tips. Let's break the internet with APAMSA's awesome hashtags that will be trending all over social media!


Robert Fu

Emory University School of Medicine

Growing up in Atlanta, I was often the only Asian in my grade at school. Maybe the entire school. It was a big school. I actually didn't realize the existence of an Asian American identity until I discovered the internet and Xanga. After starting medical school at Emory, I realized that this lack of awareness wasn't limited to 4th grade elementary students but existed in the industry of healthcare as well. Then somehow I ended up in APAMSA.

As the communications director this year, I aim to promote and market APAMSA's activities and accomplishments in as many ways as possible while maintaining cohesion within the organization. I am always open to new ideas or avenues of operation - feel free to contact me with any ideas or suggestions!

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