Julia is a talented, hard-working junior at Westminster High School. She is a passionate and caring leader, striving to make all student voices heard as class president. Through her future career, she hopes to make a difference in her community one day. We talked with Julia to learn more about why she wants to go to college and her hopes for the future.
Why is going to college important to you?
Going to college is important to me because it’s the first step in getting an education, the first step into the world, and the first step to becoming who I truly want to be. It’s also the first step towards helping others and giving back to my community. I also want to go to college to help my parents, so they won’t have to do manual labor and struggle with night shifts any more.
How is Access Opportunity making a difference in your life and your family’s life?
I don’t know where to even begin with that; Access Opportunity is making a difference in my life in every way possible. Workshops, applying for outside scholarships, networking – these are things I probably would have never done without Access Opportunity. I may be an overachieving student and a perfectionist, but I’m still just trying to figure it all out. Access Opportunity is helping me make connections and take difficult steps that I probably wouldn’t have taken, because it’s out of my comfort zone. But Access Opportunity gives me the resources and the emotional support to do it. They have also given my family support, including providing materials translated into my native language, Vietnamese.
What are some ways you demonstrate leadership at your school or in your community?
This is my second year as class president and third year on Student Council. Through this role, I’m able to be part of a community that takes action and helps make student voices heard. For example, we just planned an event to honor the recent victims of school violence. The students at Westminster wanted to voice their opinions about it and Student Council officers, including me, were the first ones to take a step towards that and voice their opinions to our principal. We’ll also be emailing our legislators and congressmen – we want our voices to be heard nationwide, not just in our community.
What is some advice that you would give younger students?
Find your people and put your roots in. Without my friends and teachers – my support group – I don’t think I would be going to college. I don’t think I would be who I am.
Who is your role model or someone you admire?
Someone who has been with me since birth – my sister, Maria. I wasn’t always a leader who spoke her own opinions and had her own thoughts. I was shy, but my sister always stood up for me and guided me through school. She has been through a lot of obstacles and has overcome them so many times. She is someone who I aspire to be –a fearless woman who can get anything done. I would love to be even a fraction of that.
Tell us about a defining moment in your life.
Not many people know this about me, but in eighth grade I had back surgery for scoliosis. It was during that time that I realized who cared about me and the lengths that my family would go to for me. A couple of my teachers actually visited me in the hospital. It also helped me define my own strength; learning how to walk again and take care of myself helped me realize how much I needed to keep going.
How will Access Opportunity help you overcome obstacles on your college and career journey?
I feel like Access Opportunity will be with me every step of the way, even when I’m not facing obstacles – reminding me that there’s a reason why I’m doing this and a light at the end of the tunnel, which is always hard to see when you’re facing obstacles. Those little reminders from the Access Opportunity staff help so much. Sometimes it’s hard to go out there and ask for help, but I feel like Access Opportunity will help me bridge that connection.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
By then I’ll have finished four years of college and will hopefully be working on my master’s degree. I want to strive to be the best woman in my career, whether it’s the medical field or engineering or something I haven’t thought of yet. I want to be the best at what I’m doing and give 100% of my effort. I want to give back to community and use my education for the right reasons. After all the time and money spent getting my degree, I hope that I’m doing something meaningful with it.