Meet the Majors

Roy Yan ’22

Japanese and Psychology

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About Roy

Class of 2022

Hometown: Shanghai, China 

Japanese and Psychology

House: Cutter

Other clubs, sports or activities that you’d like to mention:
I have been in SKDC (Smith K-pop Dance Crew) since my first year, and I am currently the president of the badminton club. I have also been taking guitar lessons with Vic Rawlings in the music department since my first year.

Describe your major completely incorrectly.
Everything is about yin and yang.

What do you think sets East Asian Languages and Culture apart from other majors?
The department is very versatile and allows you opportunities to pursue your interest to the greatest extent. Although my main focus of study is technically Japanese literature, I was able to pursue my interest in the queer studies of Japanese popular culture with the help from Professor Kono. The department is also like a home to me at Smith, since it is relatively smaller in size and has a very strong and caring community.

The department is also like a home to me at Smith, since it is relatively smaller in size and has a very strong and caring community.

What do you see as a future dream job or career?
I am currently imagining myself becoming a professor or researcher for Japanese and East Asian cultures.

Looking ahead to a decade (or two) from now, what’s something you’d like to have achieved?
My dream to bring more academic attention to queerness in East Asia and help the marginalized communities in the area with my work. I also would like to have finished writing my own book.

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share about your time at Smith?
Don’t be afraid to pursue things that you are truly passionate about, even though it is not what you have set out to do at first. I did not plan to major in Japanese in my first year and was really reluctant to declare this major until I realized that I was truly enjoyed myself when taking courses in the department, so I decided to declare in my sophomore year.

Describe one moment with a professor that particularly sticks with you.
When I was having a really hard time trying to finish my honor thesis project, Professor Kono was extremely patient and caring, constantly checking with me if I was okay, and offered me alternatives to make things easier when I was really struggling. I am very grateful to have her as my advisor and for her patience and support.

Where has been your favorite spot on campus to relax? What spot will you miss the most?
During the hard months of isolation in summer 2020, I would take a walk every day and enjoyed staying at the Capen Garden the most. There is no doubt that I will miss the Smith campus very much, but I will miss paradise pond the most since it is so iconic and looks beautiful every season.

What’s your all-time favorite Smith memory?
In fall break 2021, I hosted a Dungeons and Dragons game with my friends. It was our first time playing the game and we had a great time.

What’s one thing you wish you could tell your first-year self about your Smith experience?
Spend more time with your friends! It would become so much harder in the next two years!

If you are truly passionate about what you want to study with the major, don’t hesitate to do it.

If another student was considering your major, what would you tell them?
If you are truly passionate about what you want to study with the major, don’t hesitate to do it. You will have all the support you need and have so much fun with your learning experience as well. You will also get to know people with the same interests and passions as you and make many friends along the way.

What do you think has been the most “Smithie” thing you’ve done in life so far?
Cutting my hair short in junior year. It has been very liberating and made me feel much better about myself.

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