Name: Kevin (HanSeul) Yoo
Education: Ramapo College of New Jersey (Spring ‘13 – Spring ‘16)
Major/Minor: Marketing/International Business
Employment History: The DSM Group (Intern), Center for Student Success (Orientation Leader, Peer Advisor)
Co-Curricular Activities: Peer Facilitator, Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassador, Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Phi Omega, Anisfield School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board
My Name Is __________
Now we got the dry, often regurgitated resume information about myself out of the way, I can divulge who Kevin is; I’m not talking about HanSeul Yoo, but Kevin Yoo. The story of how Kevin derived from HanSeul is a piece of personal information that has been requested on the first day of class ever since I started school stateside, which was in 2nd grade.
I moved to Mahwah from Seoul, South Korea when I was 7 years old. My birth name – HanSeul – is not the easiest to pronounce for non-native speakers, so my aunt suggested that I give myself a nickname by picking an English name. The million dollar question still stands unanswered: How did I get Kevin from HanSeul?
South Korea is not the melting pot that the United States is. So when it came to picking a nickname for myself, my repertoire of English names was extremely limited. However, one of my favorite movies as a 7-year-old was Home Alone (Kudos to those who have already made the connection). So, the one English name I knew by heart was Kevin McCallister, the main character played by the once-adorable McCauley Culkin.
With no disapproval nor opposition from my aunt, my new name was Kevin and the rest is history.
Who Is this “Kevin”
HanSeul Yoo is my direct tie to my roots and origin. In my early years, all of my effort was invested into fitting in. This resulted in a disconnect with my culture. My language was waning, I was out of date with Korean pop culture and, consequently, my interaction with my parents diminished. The one link – a very thin thread – to my roots that I still do have is my name.
On the flip side of the coin is “Kevin” and that is the identity that I have created, tweaked, and built in America for the last decade and a half.
All of my passions can be filed under the umbrella that is art: food, music, street art and fashion. The discovery of a new artist, restaurant or fusion cuisine excites me. I may not be a world-renowned DJ or a James Beard chef, but luckily I have been able to create and customize through my positions at school; Instead of tracks or dishes, I am creating syllabi, lesson plans, team building exercises, service and professional projects and much more. The freedom to express and explore is what I love about art.
Kevin’s Ultimate Frenemy
During my 14 years of building “Kevin”, a major dillema was constantly present – self-doubt. For me, passion nor drive was an issue, but rather it was self-doubt that served as a major impediment to my growth. Over time, this self-doubt turned into fear and ultimately became a thorn in my side.
This all prevented me from raising my hand in class, signing up for clubs or organizations, etc. In addition, it supplemented my commuter lifestyle very well; I came to campus for my classes and once they were over, I went home. My on-campus involvement was little to none and my existence on campus was well, for a lack of more suitable word, non-existent.
Luckily, during my third semester at Ramapo, I realized something. Fear doesn’t have to be an encumbrance or a deterrent. It’s only negative if you allow it. I had to go out and create the experience I wanted for myself – Carpe Diem.
After that, my life changed dramatically. I embrace the fear now! I learned to find excitement in this fear, as it provided that rush and adrenaline: The butterfly in your stomach before making a presentation, going to the first club meeting or a job interview, meeting fellow pledges or chapter brothers.
I have the roles and positions at school…
I am an intern at The DSM Group…
I am who I am…
Because I decided to make fear my frenemy.