Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places, and People

First, let me quickly update you about my decision whether to transfer to the California College of the Arts (CCA). I decided it would be impossible for me to go to CCA without any grants from the school. So I will finish my MBA program at CSUF within the year, and then my plan is to find a job with this MBA degree where I can earn money to pursue my desire in art.

In the meantime, I am researching one-year design programs at good art schools to prepare applications for next year’s rounds. I believe that as long as I keep my passion alive and fight for it, I will reach my final destination, though I have to walk in a longer and narrower road. I hope the plan will be smoothly achieved.

Me, Olena and Huyen meeting at a coffee shop
Me, Olena and Huyen meeting at a coffee shop

Second, I want to tell you about a short trip to Ohio University (OU) that I took as a treat for myself before starting the summer semester. I got to visit a friend of mine who was studying journalism at OU. And I also got the chance to meet Olena, one of the other VOA bloggers, who also goes to OU!

Olena was facing many school papers that needed to be submitted before graduation, and she was anxiously waiting to hear about a job interview she had a couple of weeks before.  But despite how busy they were with graduating, we were able to have a meaningful time in updating and sharing how our lives have been going so far.

I also got to meet other international students at OU through Olena and through my friend.  I was really impressed by one Vietnamese student I met, Dieu Huyen, who is doing her Master’s degree at OU and told me about how she was struggling to study and live in this small town.

To be honest, I really admired Huyen’s independence in handling the challenges she has been through the last two years in order to successfully achieve her degree.  Huyen’s family was not able to help her pay for her education in the U.S., and she received only a partial scholarship to OU, so she came to the U.S. knowing she would have to work to pay the remaining tuition fees, house rental and her living while studying.

Huyen on the day of her graduation
Huyen on the day of her graduation

In order to earn enough money, Huyen worked 20 hours per week at three different jobs. “They saved my life!,” she told me jokingly. Working hard consumed a large amount of time and energy, but Huyen always fought her stresses with a positive attitude in order not to give up her study.

I am so glad for Huyen that she has successfully graduated her program. With her achievement, Huyen felt proud of herself and told me, “If I can do it, you also can.” If you saw Huyen in real life, you would be surprised that she is such a determined and decisive person, because Huyen is a very small girl who always puts a bright smile on her face.

I appreciated so much the time I had with all the OU international students I met during the trip. We found out that all international students at any school are in the same shoes, in a way. We choose to leave our comfortable and familiar environment in our home country to pursue our dreams in a foreign country which is strange for us and challenges us in less favorable conditions.

The friends I met inspired me to continue my own path with their own stories. I may not be able to go to CCA next year, and I will have to work hard to finish my MBA degree quicker and plan for achieving my dreams.  But every challenge we are facing will give us a good experience and give us wisdom. I wish all the best for my friend Dieu Huyen, Olena and other friends on their next endeavor after graduation.