This Mentor Likes WHAT?! This Week: Brian Yeo

You can only know so much about a person from his or her achievements.

“This mentor likes WHAT?!” is a series for our Illumna mentors to share their personal stories, favorites and more.

By Brian Yeo

Q1. Can you give a brief introduction of yourself?

Hey there, I’m Brian Yeo (pronounced Yo).  I’m a twenty-year-old Burmese/Chinese American. I’m a sophomore at Yale University, and I’ll be a mentor at the Palisades Park branch. I’m double-majoring in Political Science and Economics.

Q2. How do you like to spend your free time?

I love free time (just clarifying because I do know people who don’t), so I make the most of it by sleeping. When I’m awake, I’ll pore over NBA highlights/news, listen to music, hit the gym, and hang with friends. I love attending live music events, and I’ll never turn down a chance to break ankles in NBA 2K. Whenever I have an extended amount of time, I try to travel to foreign places; I’ve been to quite a few countries throughout the world.

Q3. Can you describe yourself using only 5 words?

Laid-back, Social, Good-humored, Ambitious, Approachable

Q4. Among your friends and family, what are you famous for?

My close friends all know that I have an erratically weird sleep schedule. Sometimes I’ll be awake from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. then sleep until 5 p.m. again. It’s unreasonably bad, and I have to keep it in check during school days.

Q5. Who is your favorite athlete?

I’ve been a Lakers fan, ride-or-die, so Kobe Bryant is my favorite athlete. I remember watching him ,and the rest of the Lakers lose to the Celtics in 2008 and finally get their revenge in 2010. I cried watching the last few minutes of his final game. I know his middle name, I know his life history, and I know his NBA stats by heart. It’s a bit much tbh. For example:

Random person: “Hey Brian, how many points per game did Kobe average his first season in the NBA?”

Me: “Well, random person, thanks for asking. Kobe Bean Bryant, a Philadelphia native and only son of Joe Jellybean Bryant who spent a chunk of his childhood in Italy, scored an average of 7.6 points per game coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996-1997 season after being picked 13th in the draft by the Charlotte Hornets who traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac a couple weeks after draft day.” (I did not look any of this up or double-check)

Q6. What are your current musical tastes like?

I didn’t really start listening to music that was outside mainstream music until I was in middle school. That’s when I really started getting into hip-hop/R&B. That’s been my favorite type of music pretty much since. I’ve also, within the past couple years, been developing a strong taste for Electronic Dance Music, also known as EDM. Those two comprise the bulk of my music listening, but I really am open to and like most genres of music.

Q7. What’s a hobby/activity you recently started up?

I developed an interest in producing music a few months ago, and I saw that Yale offered a course called Electronic Dance Music that taught students how to produce music using electronic equipment. I immediately jumped on board and signed up for the class, and I’m really excited to see what I can learn, both through the course plan and on my own. I’ve started learning how to make beats, and I’ve been using free time to learn more by myself.

Q8. What is the dumbest way you’ve injured yourself?

In the eighth grade, I had a thing with this girl that lasted around six months or so. We were never dating, but I liked her and she liked me back. One day during the summer, after school had ended, I took her on a date. Being broke 13-year olds with no cars or means of transportation, we went to the park right by our houses. The park rested on a steep, grassy hill, and we were standing at the top together. You know how when you’re in middle school, doing dangerous stunts is seen as impressive?

Well, I thought that the best way to impress her was to proclaim, “I’m going to run down this hill without tripping.” Yeah, that’ll definitely get her to really, really like me, I thought. I didn’t even wait for her to respond. I just started running down the hill full-speed and just kept accelerating.

I know this doesn’t really make sense. Like why would I think that would even remotely impress her? Like no girl cares about things like that, right? Well, keep in mind I was a warm-blooded teenage male who really wanted this girl to like me and, up until recently, would get girls to be into me because I ran fastest during P.E.

So I run down the hill, trip and roll over, scrape both my knees and a bit of my forearm and am in stinging pain. The girl comes down and is super worried, asking me if I’m okay. Trying not to seem weak, I lie and pretend I’m okay, but I’m obviously wincing.

Turns out that my display of adolescent dorkiness worked wonders. She allowed me to walk her back to her house, and I inexplicably got my first kiss that day. But guys, don’t use this as an example. If you’re ever thinking about doing something stupid and dangerous to help your chances with girls, please don’t. Kisses are nice, but having knees devoid of scars is better.

Q9. What’s your favorite movie, and why is it “The Grand Budapest Hotel”?

Wes Anderson can do no wrong.

Also, the visuals, the storytelling, the pace—all are just next level and make it an absurdly fun movie to watch. Really, 2014 was just a great year for movies, especially if you’re like me and don’t really have much time to scour the indie reel for quality films.

Other recommends: Whiplash, The Nice Guys, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Q10. What are your favorite foods?

Since I’m from L.A., I don’t think I can answer this question without mentioning In-N-Out. Also a huge fan of Halal Guys; on that note, when I was in Europe, I fell in love with döner kebab. I get Korean barbeque every time I’m back in the city, and I rely on Indomie noodles to keep me alive.

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