Pursuing Diverse Experiences At West Point And In Life
Aaron Li was born in Philadelphia, but spent some of his childhood living with relatives in Beijing and Germany before returning to Pennsylvania. Throughout his childhood, his parents encouraged a wide variety of interests ranging from sports to music, Chinese yo-yo, photography, and blacksmithing. He eventually decided he wanted to join the Army, partly out of a desire to help people, and a positive experience at a West Point rugby camp led him to the Military Academy. On R-Day, he realized that even though the Cadre appeared to be a nameless, faceless mass, they were people too. He enjoyed the military training during Beast Barracks, but initially struggled with academics until he found his focus, selecting Engineering Psychology as his major and a minor in Chinese. He is currently a member of the boxing team, and he considered the long grueling try-outs for the team rewarding. In addition to boxing, he also is a member of the photography club and several diversity clubs, including the Asian Pacific American Club and the Chinese Club. He feels that at the Academy, all the different aspects of Cadet life are tied together to create a unified West Point culture.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood and his West Point experiences. He reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and the abrupt end to his senior year of high school. He discusses how he has experienced racism in his life. At the end of the interview, he explains what West Point means to him.