If you have noticed a re-branding of some of the daily announcement videos, you are not wrong. In reality, behind every video is a team of dedicated and talented editors in charge of ASB’s public relations (PR), one of them being Janice Liu (11).
Liu has only begun formally editing the ASB announcement videos last November, and the changes are stunning. The format for certain promotional videos including clubs or for spirit week has been “revamped”, she explains. Liu further elaborates that because the first semester of this school year was a bit challenging and busy, they were not able to produce videos of their preferred quality. “We wanted longer and more engaging videos, so we’ve been trying to improve the quality,” she says.
Many of Liu’s best moments of the school year, in fact, came from ASB. “When I was in middle school, the tour guides would walk past the ASB rooms and I always thought that I could never be them. I was not outgoing, and I did not think I was the most spirited person.” Eventually, she took the chance and applied for ASB anyways, and to her surprise, she made it in. “Most of my highs have been helping the student body put together these events, just seeing people have fun is just very satisfying. Now that I’m here and get to see the behind-the-scenes, I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” she says.
Liu has not had much of a video editing background but picked it up rather quickly. In addition to creating some of ASB’s promotional media, she is also a co-technology chair in another club called KIWINS. Since she also had a similar role in the club, her skills carried over into both of her jobs. “I am co-technology chair in KIWINS, the whole position is mostly editing videos and promotional material, so I definitely did have some editing experience, but not pro-level, though good enough for school announcements.” Her position as co-technology chair wasn’t easy to get, and she expresses gratitude for being given the opportunity to do so much. “It is honestly a very nice club and surprisingly a very close-knit community, I would say, for such a large club.”
Her other club is called NAMI, which stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Liu co-founded this club with another student, Charlene Ahn (11) and together they aimed to create a club that would better educate others about dealing with mental health. “We are trying to bring more awareness and de-stigmatize the topic of mental health because honestly a lot of people suffer in silence and we do not want that,” she says. “We want people to be more open about it, however, it is not a therapy club, it is not where we sit and discuss what happened to us, it is more towards educating and giving others the resources to know how to help themselves.”
Today, their club is succeeding at reaching many students on campus, though it was not an easy journey. Liu explains that one of her biggest challenges of the year was founding NAMI and getting it to where it stands today. “It was definitely a struggle to figure out the groove of being a new club, especially a club whose topic and material are not something a lot of people enjoy talking about. We needed a way to introduce this club in a digestible manner, so more people are more comfortable listening and staying.” Liu goes on to explain that part of the struggle came from separating the identity of their club from a similar club on campus. “Their club is great, but we’re not the same thing,” she says.
Another major struggle that Liu battled throughout her past high school years was finding a balance between keeping up her grades and having a social life. “Last year I battled staying up all night to finish an assignment and then not being able to stay awake at school, it’s just a vicious cycle,” Liu recalls. This time around, she only had to deal with issues from unresponsive teachers. “Sometimes teachers aren’t the easiest to communicate with, and then suddenly everything goes a little wrong… other than that, there was not too much difficulty this year.” Liu demonstrates from experience that after she found a better balance between work and life, it became easier to manage. “This year it’s more like, ‘oh I want to accomplish a goal, and there are some obstacles’. It is less of me having big problems and more of me going through small bumps. It is more livable than what I have been through in the past.” Liu retells.
As for advice, Liu stresses the importance of communication, whether in school or at your extracurriculars. She recalls how many of the difficulties she faced getting through her sophomore year could have been easily solved if she had asked someone for help. “Try not to be too prideful about it, if you are struggling with a class, do not try to grind it out by yourself at midnight.” Liu also acknowledges that it is not easy to find the courage to talk things out about something that bothers you, but she also says that it’s worse to let the situation snowball into something you can no longer manage. Overall, it is healthier to deal with issues as they happen instead of avoiding it. “People are delicate, you need to be able to let things out, or else you’ll explode.”
Further into balancing life, Liu mentions how she wanted to focus on giving time back to herself, like going back to old interests that she used to not have time for. “If you take them all away, then you are barely a person, and you almost start to feel like a robot. This year, I promised myself that I would not feel guilty if I spent some time focusing on my hobbies.” Some of those hobbies include drawing, which she has expressed interest in since she was a child. Liu has since realized that art is a constant journey, in which one would never reach perfection, though each chance is an opportunity to improve.
Along with art, Liu also sees video games as a medium to tell a story and live through a character’s choices. Some of her favorite games include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Hades, which also fosters her interest in Greek mythology. “As you are playing, you get to experience a bunch of details that you never saw, or you could spend hours exploring a world for fun. A lot of people put effort into making these games. I think it is great that we get to experience all of that.”
Even with so much going on throughout her school years, Liu still has some uncertainties about her future. Not everyone can really say they are sure about things in the future, and though you can plan for it, it will not always go as you intended. “I have a general idea of where I am going, but I will not be too devastated if I do not end up there. I am definitely not giving up on myself.”