I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. My family is from a Karenni ethnic group that was forced to flee their homeland of Myanmar (Burma) because of a brutal civil war. When I was 14 we had the opportunity to resettle in America.
As both a refugee and a first-generation college student, I felt incredibly lost at RIT. My parents didn’t speak English and couldn’t guide me through my personal, academic, and financial struggles so I had to figure everything out on my own.
When I arrived on campus I felt like I was the only person who didn’t know what they were doing. Between helping my parents who relied on me for my English skills every day, working several jobs, and not knowing how to be an American college student, I struggled terribly.
With the help of the Academic Success Center, I slowly gained the skills I needed to succeed. I started using the daily and semester calendars and took advantage of tutoring. I learned to manage my time by sometimes saying no to things people asked me to do. I discovered that in order to save or help others, I must first help myself. Now I am focused on working hard in school and getting an education. I hope to have the power in the future to be a resource to those who need my help, especially the Karenni community.
As a child, I listened to my mother’s stories of growing up in poverty under a totalitarian government. It breaks my heart that she watched her family and friends die because of a lack of medical care. I realize I am lucky to be in the United States and to be getting a college education. Although I have been through difficult times at RIT I am grateful for the hardships because they helped shape me into who I am. My dream is to become the strongest person I can be so that I can go to medical school and work with Doctors without Borders.