My top tip? Decide what success looks like for YOU.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

Advice to 18 year old self |  Asian American career advice |  THE BEAUTY VANITY

When I graduated high school, I was bombarded by my family with questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What are you going to study in college?”

For anyone who doesn’t know what to do post-high school or even during and after college, these are some serious questions. I totally get it, the future can be scary and very unsettling!

Like I mentioned in my last Beyond Beauty post, throughout high school and college I unknowingly felt this pressure to be a dentist because I thought it was the “right” thing to do. Get good grades, go to a good school, be a doctor, and have lots of money — this is the general formula my parents drilled into my brain growing up. I thought I had to be what society told me to be, but I’m here to tell you this is not true! Chances are, many of your peers feel the same way.

So take a deep breath because here 8 things I wish I told my 18-year-old self about college and my career.

What is your definition of success?

What sort of lifestyle do you want? What cities do you want to live in when you grow up? What sort of value do you want to contribute to society? What is your definition of a meaningful life? What sorts of relationships do you want to make in the future? Whatever answer you give, there are multiple paths to becoming successful.

A stable job does not equal success

I learned after college and grad school that a stable job does not necessarily mean success. Too many of my friends are doctors or lawyers and are making a ton of money but later admit to me they don’t feel fulfilled. We spend most of our day at work, so just imagine living most of your life not enjoying your day. Life is too short to feel that way!

When choosing a career, my advice is to not always go after the dollar signs.

Try new things

The only way to find out what you like is to try new things. Take a class you never thought you’d take, hang out with a group of friends with different interests, and step out of your comfort zone. You might not like what you’ve tried, but you’ll find more things you didn’t know you cared about. It’s good to step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while, this is the only way you’ll grow!

Have multiple mentors

If you have a few interests and don’t know how to narrow it down, get an internship at a few different places to get a feel for the industry and get honest answers about what it’s like working there. You’ll experience the ups and downs in the industry and see if it’s something you’ll enjoy doing every day.

At each of these internships, find a few mentors — they will teach you more than you know. Spend time with them and ask them questions.

Advice to 18 year old self |  Asian American career advice |  THE BEAUTY VANITY
Advice to 18 year old self |  Asian American career advice |  THE BEAUTY VANITY

Don’t be afraid to fail

Realizing that failure wasn’t a catastrophe was a major turning point in my life. When I decided to let go of becoming a dentist, I felt like a failure. I was so down for months and I felt I wasn’t driven or smart enough, but without that decision, I wouldn’t be where I am today! There was a silver lining out of this: I realized my passion for beauty.

Accepting failure is something you’ll have to deal with often and you might learn something from it. How you react to failure will define you as a person and yes, it’s okay to make mistakes.

Pay attention to what interests you

What are some things you like to do during your free time? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled?

I used to spend hours as a kid playing with makeup, which turned into watching YouTube. Did I think this would end up being my career? Hell no. But had I not paid attention to this, I would not be working in beauty. So my advice is: pay attention to these moments — these are the things you are passionate about.

Once you realize what you like, start brainstorming jobs that are related to your passion and don’t let anyone hold you back!


There’s going to be a lot of noise around you and I have to admit, it’s easy to give in and experience some major FOMO. I used to ask myself, “why can’t be successful like so-and-so?” or “how did she get that job?” Then I’d fall down this rapid downward spiral of being fearful of the unknown or feeling I wasn’t good enough.

One thing I constantly remind myself is that everyone has their own definition of success and their own journey. So instead of looking at her lane, I had to learn how to stay focused on my own.

Surround yourself with people who enrich you

Let go of the people who stress you out or don’t make you happy and make time with peers, friends or family who make you better as a person.

I used to be scared of talking to new people. I was scared of what people might think of me, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and started going to networking events on a regular basis. I’ve met so many people that way, and I’m lucky to call some of them my friends and have their support. These connections also led to paid jobs! You can accomplish a lot on your own, but you can accomplish much more with the support of others.

This post is proudly sponsored by Olay’s campaign celebrating fearless females
who have overcome adversity throughout their lives. Just as I overcame my doubts and fears about becoming what society told me to do, I am proud to stand with pilot Tristian, a female pilot, and other fearless women throughout the world! Watch the video here: