By Xeng Moua
My name is April Yang and I was born in Oregon. I completed my Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Pacific University College of Pharmacy in 2017 and currently work as a pharmacist. But art, drawing, and creating is just something I have always loved to do ever since I was little. I’ve always found it to be very therapeutic and liberating in a way.
In elementary school whenever we would have art projects, I LOVED them. All my classmates would always compare their artworks to mine, and they would tease me, and ask me why I always had to be such an over achiever.
I also remember in middle school – I don’t know if this was ever a thing at your school. All the students would carry those binders where you could put pictures in the front? I would always draw something to put on the front of my binder.
I loved to collect pins. Whenever I traveled, I tried to pick one up to remind me of the places I have been. One day, I just got to thinking, I would love to be able to create my own pin – something related to my nationality because I haven’t seen very many Hmong related pins that I liked.
I think my favorite one for now will have to be the elephant footprint (Remember Your Roots), because it is my very first pin and in a way is a bookmark of when I first started this chapter of my life. But the purple Hmong turban, is a close favorite – just because I think it’s super cute. I also have a few jewelry pieces that I have designed.
In regard to how I got started in this pin business, I didn’t really have a mentor. I just did A LOT of research. I also had a lot of trial and errors. However, I did have a lot of support from my husband. He is a big reason why I have the courage to do this – if I didn’t have him, I would probably have a mental breakdown every other week. He is the one who encouraged me, when I doubted myself.
I think the biggest obstacle and struggle I’ve had, and STILL have – is learning how to take the opinions and criticisms of people with grace. I mean, I feel like I do an okay job at it, but sometimes it can really get to you. People will always have something to say, whether it’s positive or negative – you can’t please everyone. All you can do is take in the good, brush off the bad, and keep moving forward.
My advice to those struggling to achieve their dreams out there is as cheesy as it sounds – I’ve always grown up being taught and believing that, where there is a will there is a way. If I want something badly enough, I can make it happen – and if it doesn’t happen… then it most likely meant that I didn’t want it badly enough. Granted, there are special circumstances – but in short, all I really mean to say is you can do anything you set your mind to.
Also, I know growing up in a Hmong household, sometimes makes it harder to stray away from the traditional ways of thinking (i.e. go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer – HECK, that’s what I did lol so I know it’s very hard to branch out). When I was younger, I always wanted to grow up going into the art field – but I was told over and over again it wasn’t a stable career and it’s only a select few who are able to make it big. So, I played it safe – and although I don’t regret my current career choice – there will always be a part of me that wonders what would have been. Ahh well, I also believe that it’s never too late to dream 😊 so here’s me doing that now lol
Here are some other motto’s I like to live by:
- Go big or go home
- Fake it till you make it (he he)
- Hard work pays off
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight.
To get in touch with April Herr Yang, check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/april.herr.5
To check out her pins and jewelry, check out her Esty shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MillionDreamsbyApril