The Mentor Spotlight series by Project YETI aims to showcase the amazing young Tibetans involved in our YETI Mentorship program and share some of their valuable advice publicly for young Tibetan students. We'll be posting a new Mentor Spotlight every day, so stay tuned!
Tenzin Kunsang is 24 years old. She was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, moved to Boston when she was 3 years old, and subsequently raised there. She graduated from UMass Amherst in 2015 majoring in Public Health and minoring in Education. She is currently working on an oral history project with 2nd generation Tibetans in Boston area called Tibetan Resettlement Stories: Voices of Boston. Kunsang is currently serving as General Secretary for the Tibetan Association of Boston.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Outgoing, ambitious, compassionate.
What is a fun fact about you most people don't know?
[I did a] domestic exchange in University of Hawaii in 2014!
What is your favorite quote?
“The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose," [by] Robert Byrne. I first came across this quote back in junior year of highschool and it really resonated with me. I think people tend to get caught up in societal expectations of how one should live their life and end up busy pleasing others. People tend to make a lot of excuses of why they can’t do something instead of reasons why they can. It isn’t until someone reaches an old age or god forbid a health issue where one finally starts to reflect on life and determine if it has been meaningful.
What motivates you to be successful/achieve?
My motivation is very simple. My parents and His Holiness. We Tibetans have a very interesting history. Many of us are 3rd culture children and our parents and grandparents have faced similar struggles and a great deal of hardship. I’ve seen my parents sacrifice a lot and work extremely hard in order for their children to have the best life possible. I have lived a very privileged life and I know it’s because of my parents so it pushes me to do better because I want to make all their sacrifices worth it. His Holiness has dealt with a lot of pressure and uncertain difficulties at a very young age. With His guidance and leadership, Tibetans have flourished in communities all throughout the world, therefore it is our obligation to excel and give back to our communities in any way possible.
If you could offer one piece of advice to Tibetan students in their college application process, what would it be?
You are Tibetan. This one quality already makes all of us unique so shed light on your Tibetan roots and take advantage of that. In terms of finances, college is an investment. Depending on your financial situation pick a school that will give you the most value for what you pay for. Student loans are no joke, so pick wisely according to your financial situation.
If you could offer one piece of advice to Tibetan students entering the college experience, what would it be?
For many of you who grew up in the US/Canada, college will be the first time living on your own. With that comes a lot of freedom but also a lot of responsibilities. The adjustment period is a little tough but try your best to keep yourself busy and to focus on your studies. Don’t put too much pressure on making new friends because this happens so naturally. Everyone is vulnerable and anxious their first year, not just you so keep that in mind. If possible, try to find campus jobs that allow you to do homework because that will be a time/life savior. Most importantly take advantage of study abroad/domestic exchange because this will be one of the few times in your life that you can live in a different place for a long period of time. Plan accordingly and you will not regret this experience at all.