This article attempts to show how second-generation, Korean-American students have constructed their own meanings of pursuing education. By drawing on several Korean-American college students` life histories and commentaries about their educational experiences, I describe the attitudes about education held by a segment of second-generation Korean-American students. In order to reject conventional notions of Korean-American students` academic behavior (e.g., Korean Americans as science whizzes and high-score achievers), I focus on the process rather than the product of individual academic performances. Especially, I will illustrate how a female student called Sumi has coped with the social beliefs and narratives that have represented Korean-Americans` educational performances on the public and academics. As she has experienced conflicts between the representations and reality, she has transformed her attitudes about education. Her attitude change has been accompanied by her interpretations and reflections about her educational experiences situated in various contexts including family, neighborhood, and school conditions. These experiences have revolved around and against the taken-for-granted image of Korean Americans, that is, the model minority image and the concept of voluntary minorities as successful academic achievers.
II. The Model Minority Image as a Macronarrative
III. Explanations of Educational Performance of Asian-American Students
IV. Research Methods
V. Retrospective Narratives