Anh moved to the US from Vietnam four years ago and is already 1st in her class at Thornton High School. She will be a first-generation college student and is excited to explore future career possibilities. We sat down with Anh to learn more about her interests and goals for the future.
What are you most looking forward to about going to college?
I look forward to meeting new people and new professors, studying new things, learning about majors, and taking classes I’ve never taken before. Going to college is an opportunity for me to improve my education and provide me with many chances for employment.
Why did you decide to apply to Access Opportunity?
Besides the scholarship money, I was also interested in the ACT tutoring. Tutoring costs a lot of money and I knew it would be helpful. I also really love the one-on-one advice from an adviser and help prepping for college. I’ll be first-generation to college, so I don’t know how to apply to college or know anything about the whole process.
What do you like most about the program?
What I like most about Access Opportunity is the interaction between the students – I get to meet students from all over Denver, including students who already in college and can offer their advice. It’s great knowing that I’m not alone in this college journey. It’s also motivating for me; I see other students working hard and it encourages me to continue pushing myself.
Have you thought about what you’re going to study in school?
I’m interested in so many different fields and areas, including medical science, computer science, and art. I think I’ll figure it out as I go along; for now, I’m going to try my best and keep looking for what I really want to do.
What advice would you give to other first-generation students?
I would tell them to always have a goal, always work hard and do your best. If you do your best, even if you fail, you won’t regret it. If I know that I could have done better, I always regret that.
Tell us about a defining moment in your life.
A defining moment for me was when I moved to the US. At that time, I experienced cultural and language shock. My parents and my sister don’t know how to speak English; I’m the only one in my family who knows how to speak it. However, I was still very shy and didn’t know much when we first moved here.
The first time I went to school, I didn’t understand much. Everything seemed alien to me. I remember that we were told to write a paragraph in thirty minutes. In that thirty minutes, a lot of people wrote a whole page and I was still struggling with my first two sentences. That really hit me – I decided that I needed to keep trying and trying harder. So I kept practicing writing and read a lot of books to increase my vocabulary. And now, I can write a paper like that in a few minutes.
Who is your biggest role model or inspiration?
My biggest role model is my dad. My dad only finished high school. He’s a person who doesn’t talk a lot, but I know that he really cares about me and our family. I know that he sacrificed so many things for me; my parents felt that coming to the US was an opportunity for me to expand my horizons, have more opportunities, and further my education. I’m so thankful for my parents and know that they have done a lot for me; I want to work really hard in the future to repay my dad for everything he has done for me.
Tell us something interesting we might not know about you.
Last year, I did an entrance project for IB [International Baccalaureate]. We had to create something that demonstrated our learning and problem solving skills, so I decided to make a paper dress. At first, I was thinking about making it from recycled materials, like bottles and cans. Then I saw my social studies teacher had a whole basket of waste paper, so I took the entire basket home, to see if I could work with it. I went online and found some inspiration, including origami and some artists I liked. I found multiple designs and decided to create my own version of origami pieces. I created about 2,000 origami pieces, but only used around 1,000 of them for the dress. It took me over a month to fold all of the pieces, and then I glued and sewed them together to create the dress. I also made the mannequin for the dress by myself; I wrapped myself in duct tape and a layer of nylon so that it wouldn’t stick to me, and then filled it with fiber. Once the dress was done, I painted flowers and branches on it, using a painting by an artist I really like as inspiration.