Family Inspiration Leads to Law School Aspirations

John Wang ‘22

LEXINGTON, Va., January 12, 2022—“It all clicked.”

John Wang '22 is a psychology major who grew up in Taiwan and California. After graduation, he hopes to go to law school like his uncle, John Kao '91.

Inspired to attend VMI by his uncle, Wang heard many stories about VMI growing up. He noted, however, that he only heard “the good parts,” which led to a few doubts about his decision to matriculate as he experienced the Rat Line.

“But honestly, who didn't in the first year as a rat, coming to VMI with all this pressure and a really big cultural shock and change?” Wang stated. “But then, it all clicked. I figured this is where I wanted to be and where I truly thrived.”

At first, Wang wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after VMI. Academics were a challenge, and he struggled with memorizing information. Wang found mentorship from his academic advisor, Col. Scott Frein, professor of psychology, and he was able to work hard and develop stronger study habits.

“I realized that if I wanted to go somewhere after graduation, I would have to build myself up and become a stronger candidate,” Wang said.

Seeing the example of his uncle, Wang decided to pursue a career in law. This past summer, he interned in Manhattan at a law firm, tackling legal research and composing documents. He was surprised how much he enjoyed the work and opportunities he had – even the reading.

“I never thought I'd enjoy reading this much,” Wang commented. “I used to hate reading, but this job [gave me] the perspective that sometimes you have to find the thing you like doing, and then it naturally clicks.”

On post, Wang currently serves as an assistant investigator for the OGA, a role that allows him to “think outside the box” and develop his listening and critical thinking skills.

As he looks back on his years at VMI, Wang encourages potential cadets and rats to “embrace the suck” and uncertainty of VMI and “don't study in your room.”

“You may think that [the Rat Line] is overwhelming, and you may think that people are out to get you, but they're trying to get the best out of you,” Wang emphasized. “They're not here to see you fail, they're here to see you succeed.”

Eric Moore 
Communications & Marketing 
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 

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