I am going into my senior year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and I am studying Engineering Physics. Both of my parents immigrated from Vietnam in the 1970’s. I went to a small grade school in a Uptown, Chicago. It didn’t have any clubs, sports teams, or a consistent art program. At the time, I hated it. However, I’ve realized that this made me develop a hunger for pursuing new experiences. In high school, I was a triple-sport athlete, took all the AP sciences my high school offered (they also made an award for it), and was two years ahead in math.
Fast forward to my sophomore year of college. I had just transferred from a small, private institution to a large, start school (Illinois) mainly due to financial reasons and being pre-med, it didn’t really matter where you went to school. Considering that I had a strong math/science background in high school and that Illinois also happened to be a great engineering school. I put in the work and had multiple overloaded semesters and transferred into the Engineering Physics program. It just happened to be the most flexible program where I would still be able to graduate within 4 years. I also happened to randomly live in a house full of physics majors. They had very different life experiences than I had and I’ve learned a lot of new things just by befriending them. I would mainly talk about sports, girls, and media with my friends from high school, but here people talked about topics like philosophy, physics, and politics at great length. I’m pretty glad to say that I’ve gained so much by just talking to a lot of different people and it has definitely shaped the way I view the world for the better.