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Compassion in Action Student Spotlight: Yulie

Name : Yulie
School : UC Berkeley

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a first-generation immigrant from Korea and the younger of two daughters. I like to honor my culture through food and speaking Korean with my parents. I am in my last year (now month!) of undergrad, after which I will be starting out as a software engineer. I have a deep love for words – reading and writing – as well as for nature, getting in touch with the earth on sunsets and hikes. I also love sounds – the sound of languages, of music, of laughter, of animals on campus, of stillness.
What’s your major and why did you choose it?
Computer Science. I applied to UC Berkeley as an English major but fell into CS after taking an introductory programming class. I saw a parallel between the two – programming is like writing a piece of literature, one that is read by machines. There was also the “bread and-butter” question as an international student. CS seemed like the more financially secure version of English.

What drew you to the CiA Fellowship?
I was drawn to “inner and outer change.” Inner change because I was in the process of healing from old wounds, and outer change because I knew I wasn’t alone in my healing but hadn’t been able to find a community. I was also drawn to meditation. I had heard about its benefits from multiple people and thought it was time to try it out.

What are your goals for the semester?
My goals are to slow down, be present, and stay connected – i.e. to have a healthier work-life balance. I weave between disbelief and impatience, reminiscence and anticipation at there being less than one month till graduation. I hope to stop more often when walking to appreciate the beautiful greens on campus, to savor each minute now when it passes only once, and to leave all things spoken with those whose lives mine has been fortunate to merge with over the past four years.

Midway up the Fire Trail in Berkeley, CA overlooking the Campanile tower.

What’s been happening in your chapter?
We have been riding the tides of life, meeting each other at where we are. In some weeks, we deep dive with our check-in question and hold space for our common humanity. We remind ourselves to breathe, grounded in the dark golden clouds of Tonglen or the warm embrace of loving-kindness. Some weeks, we take an intentional pause. We take a step back to the peak of a mountain on a hiking trail or to the top of the Campanile bell tower overlooking the city.

What are you getting out of the fellowship so far?
A group of inspiring souls who are courageous with sharing a deep part of their lives and who are Compassion in Action with making space for others to do the same. Also a second, third, fourth, I lost count, reckoning of who I am and how I relate with others.
What types of meditations are currently resonating with you and why?
Loving-kindness because it fills my bucket of warm fuzzy energy for the day.

What social causes do you feel passionate about and why?
Ethics of data and technology, or the lack thereof. As a future tech worker, I feel responsible for the intended or unintended violence that algorithms and data inflict on those without power, specifically marginalized communities of immigrants, women, and people of color.
If you could invite anyone to dinner alive or deceased who would that be?
Michelle and Barack Obama

What does a more compassionate world look like to you?
A world where we invite people in rather than pushing them out. In schools, this would mean asking students what they need and listening instead of sending them home or to jail. In homes, this would mean radical acceptance instead of the need for a coming out story. In front of mirrors, this would mean nourishing one’s body instead of shaming it. In politics, this would mean humans first, beliefs second instead of the opposite. In neighborhoods, this would mean building open houses with connected doors instead of private boxes. In relationships, this would mean ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘I.’

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
As Oprah Winfrey says in her book, “What Happened to You,” to paraphrase here, things happen to you and for you, and this builds strength and power.

How can people join your chapter?
Reach out to Compassion in Action@UC Berkeley on Instagram or via email at! If you’re on campus, you might see us in front of the Hertz music building or on Sproul plaza!

Water Lantern festival at San Francisco; on one of the sides of the lantern is the quote “What makes night within us may leave stars” by Victor Hugo

Compassion in Action Network

The Compassion in Action Network is a movement and community of young people working to create a happy, just, and flourishing world. Students and youth are at the forefront of changing the world. Today’s rising generation knows that our challenges are interconnected and that we need inner and outer change. In partnership with young people and allies across North America, we are growing a network of next generation leaders who are waking up together and acting with compassion for the benefit of all.

Learn more about the network and the Compassion in Action Fellowship.