Jonathan Lee

Hometown, La Crescenta, CA
NCLC was a unique and valuable opportunity for me that I will never forget. Especially in the past couple of years, I have struggled with my identity as a Korean American. My closest friends are not Korean and I also don’t have many Korean American friends. And between my extremely American or Korean friends, I have always found it challenging to feel a complete sense of belonging. This was part of my reason for attending this conference. I remember the first day when all the attendees were just getting to know each other and listening to our first speakers. To be honest, it felt a little weird… but in a good way. It felt odd to me because I couldn’t remember the last time I was with only Korean Americans around my age. I felt an immediate sense of connectedness despite all of our differences. And let me tell you that they were not joking about the abundant amount of established professionals booked for this conference. Even though it seemed as if there would be no end to the number of professionals speaking, I was able to learn something important from each speaker. After hearing from many speakers, inevitably I got close to my peers. All jokes aside, I was absolutely blown away by the wisdom that was poured into my life from these influential, powerful, and inspiring leaders. And not only did I get to hear from them, but I was also able to actually connect with each of them afterward. Though it did feel intimidating at times to be always connecting with the speakers and my peers, I do not regret taking advantage of this experience as it gave me such a unique opportunity to connect with others and challenge myself to grow as a leader. I want to thank all the amazing counselors, speakers, and peers that have impacted me over this past week. All these people have helped me feel more confident in my sense of identity as a Korean American and this is definitely something that I am proud of. I am so grateful to have entered into a space full of strangers who I now call my community. I am excited to continue my education and one day give back to the Korean American community as they have done for me.