Vang and his proud parents after his high school graduation.

[dropcap]“I[/dropcap]f you don’t go to college, you will have to come help me farm like this everyday,” my mom explained to me as I wiped to sweat off my face. I always seemed to get that lecture from her every time I complained about going to the farm. My parents always made it clear to get a college education. Another thing they constantly mentioned was, “We came all this way from Thailand, for you to have a chance at achieving a higher education. Don’t throw it away.”

My education was something I never took for granted and I always pushed myself to do better and achieve more. I just graduated from Edison High School, and I’m going to UC Davis this fall to pursue my dream of being a pharmacist.

[pullquote_right]I just graduated from Edison High School, and I’m going to UC Davis this fall to pursue my dream of being a pharmacist.”[/pullquote_right]

It takes a lot of traits combined for a person to get into college. But for me, it was a struggle that I would not want to go over again. There were deadlines thrown at me by colleges that I didn’t even know about until the last minute. I had to be on my feet and able to take on obstacles.

I applied to UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and Fresno State. I was accepted into UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Fresno State, waitlisted in UC San Diego and declined from UC Berkeley. It sucked because I really wanted to get into Berkeley but I wasn’t able to. If only I spent a little more time on my personal statement, which is the part of the application that colleges look at most, I might have made it. In the end, I decided to go to UC Davis because it was a beautiful college and they have the majors I am interested in.

Initially, the college application process was confusing, but applying was easier once I got the hang of it. There were so many different applications to submit. It’s a tedious process, and it involved waiting on other people for information, like family information from my parents. The waiting just makes the process longer. I had to be persistent, especially in this step of getting into college.

One of the biggest hardships in college is the cost. When I go off to school in Davis, it will be one of the obstacles that I must face. I have to take almost $4,000 in loans for school in the first year at Davis. It sounds like no big deal, but it will add up in the end. I don’t want these loans to be in vain, therefore I will have to concentrate in school and do my best. Going to Davis will impact my parents most because they both depend on me on for a lot of things. This is why I am going to try to get a job so that I can try to support myself and not have to bother them about financial issues all the time.

Freedom is that best word that describes me going off to college. But with freedom, I must have self control and not be distracted from my education. My mom is really scared that I will have a hard time being independent because I “go out too much.” I’m excited to meet all the new people at UC Davis, but I’m worried about my freedom, too. I am worried that I might mess up and have to come back down to Fresno. All those loans would be taken in vain. I am worried about not being able to follow through with my dreams of being a pharmacist. Most importantly of all, I am worried of not setting a great example and not being able to make my parents proud.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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