Hello AASU! Debating on taking an Asian American Studies course at UF, or even picking up the minor? Welcome to the first part of our blog series on different perspectives of Asian American Studies at UF, here to enlighten you on different student experiences with the courses to inspire you to immerse yourself in the Asian American Studies. Today’s perspective comes from student Marcus Degnan.

What’s your name, year and major?

Marcus Degnan. I’m a Junior English major, with a minor in Asian American Studies and Asian Studies.

What course did you take under the Asian American Studies minor?

I took Asian American Studies, Asian American Film, and will be planning to Asian American Studies: Racial Identities to finish up the final requirement of the core classes. I’ve also taken Intro to African American studies and Minorities in American Society as electives.

What were you initially looking to get out of it?

Going into Asian American Studies with Dr. Scheuller, I really had no idea about the course itself. Around that time I simply was trying to get more involved within the Asian American community..

What did you ultimately get out of it?

That single semester, that single course transformed my life. Asian American Studies inspired me so much that I rearranged my academic career solely around the then-certificate. Not only was the subject interesting in itself, but it also compelled me to view the world in a more critical and insightful way, something no other class has ever come close to doing since I’ve studied at UF. Since pursuing the minor, I even decided to go further in Asian American studies by looking at graduate programs in the field. The course, the pursuit of the degree, literally gave me a passion.

Why would you recommend it to others?

Joining social clubs like the Asian American Student Union, its various sub-organizations, and other facets of the community like Asian American Greek life are decent ways of connecting with culture. However, these clubs do not educate nor deal with the actual issues in a formalized, impactful way (often times resulting in problematic behavior gone unnoticed for periods of time). My recommendation for the Asian American Studies minor is simply because it teaches the ways in which to discuss, perceive, and attempt to understand the experiences of being an Asian American. While doing so, it also fosters a more sensitive mindset of the world around them, dismantling the more subtle inconsistences social-clubs tend to promote without meaning to.

In general, why do you think Asian American Studies is important?

Asian American Studies is an exploration of our multi-dimensional, conflicted identities. Obtaining the minor doesn’t just mean getting a piece of paper. It’s about the education that comes with recognizing the plight people of alternative identities face. Asian American Studies as a whole explores who we are, and its essential for any field, be it English, Medicine, or vocational. I full-heartedly believe every Asian American student should pursue the minor to find out more about themselves, and explore a rich cultural history that affects them today.