My Nguyen: From Southeast Asia to Northwest Colorado
Moffat County High School junior to receive associate’s degree, to study at CSU
The phrase means a great deal to Moffat County High School junior My Nguyen.
Many people around her believe her accomplishments have come from simply being naturally smart, and while she isn’t without her share of brainpower, she prefers to be acknowledged for the amount of effort she’s put into her academics.
Nguyen will graduate high school a year early alongside the Class of 2014, a result of making schoolwork her top priority. Additionally, she will soon be receiving her associate’s degree from Colorado Northwestern Community College through concurrent enrollment, putting her well ahead of many headed to post-secondary education.
Nguyen’s family emigrated from Vietnam to the United States shortly before she began high school. Mastering the English language took some time, but she found it didn’t take long to adapt to the American classroom, as she was already familiar with most high school-level math and science concepts.
“In Vietnam, tests are a lot harder, but here there’s a lot less stress,” she said. “They push hard (in Vietnam), and I don’t think I like that as much.”
Larger classroom sizes were also prevalent in Asia, and since being in the United States Nguyen said it was easier to figure out her own pace, balancing classes with the occasional volunteer work.
She noted that an overuse of cell phones and other devices in the classroom is something that would not have gone over well with teachers in her former country.
“Over there, you never see any phones out at all, so students can focus more,” she said.
Nguyen is headed for Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with a major in pre-med, though she hasn’t yet decided what kind of specialty she’d prefer or the extensiveness of study.
“Maybe I’ll be a doctor, see how far I can go, I just love the medical field,” she said. “There’s tons of different jobs.”
Some students are choosing to chart their own course after graduation, bucking the conventional path of college or trade school, but with no less ambition than their degree-seeking peers. Moffat County High School senior Tyler Gonzales is one such student, who has chosen to dive into a full-time job at Chaos Ink after graduating and feed his passion for design and entrepreneurialism.