A Journey of Self-Advocacy



May 20, 2022 | Academics, First Year Experience, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Student Spotlight

MiyokoWongMiyoko Wong knows that to get what you want from life, you have to take chances. They did just that when they took a leap and moved from Honolulu to New York City nine months ago to attend Guttman. In addition to making the thousand-plus mile trip, Miyoko has also been on a journey of self-advocacy and discovery. After a tumultuous time back home, New York City and Guttman have been offering Miyoko opportunities to grow and thrive. 

Miyoko was born and raised in Hawaii. Their birth parents were Japanese and Hispanic/Native American, and they were adopted into a family of Japanese and Chinese descent. Miyoko feels drawn to their Japanese heritage and often discusses with friends the possibility of a trip there. Through the transition to New York, one of the biggest culture shocks for Miyoko has been the city’s diversity. They love the convenience of the subway, but also miss good Hawaiian food. These are just some of the small changes in Miyoko’s life. The bigger picture paints Miyoko’s resilience and grit more clearly. 

High school was not a positive experience for Miyoko. They struggled, but despite a lack of support on multiple levels, Miyoko persevered, and through their own research online, found Guttman and its “too good to be true” offerings. Those unbelievable offerings have proven to be factual. Today, the eighteen-year-old first-year student enjoys most of their classes and praises the efforts and dedication of our professors. Miyoko really appreciates the different teaching styles their professors have offered, giving students flexibility and autonomy that were just not part of Miyoko’s educational experience before. They said moving to New York and attending Guttman has helped them realize their learning and career potential.  

Miyoko grew up in a very restrictive environment where mental health and western medicine resources were not part of their upbringing. After turning eighteen, Miyoko took every opportunity available to advocate for their own wellbeing, knowing they wanted to get help. They caught up with all their missing vaccinations, found the right doctors, and a therapist. New York has been a “fresh start” for Miyoko. “Once you’re away from such a toxic environment, you have a chance to start healing yourself,” they said.  

The advice Miyoko has for her fellow Grizzlies is to “trust your gut.” “In the end, you’re in charge of your own life, and responsible for your own actions,” they said.