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Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Kimberly NguyenOnly 20 days of school left! I can’t believe time flew by so fast. Just a little over two months ago, I was starting my first semester of my sophomore year.

Because of the opportunities I found last year, I have been balancing not only school, but also working as an ambassador, doing research in the animal behavior lab, and volunteering at the Wildlife Center (it’s a class, but you’re essentially volunteering). It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun, too! I experienced so many new things this semester, and I can’t wait to experience more.

I like to think I’m a hard worker. Maybe it is the Vietnamese blood in me. Maybe it was my family’s circumstances. Maybe it is just my personality. Whatever the reason, that trait helped me get to where I am now.

About a month ago, I applied for the BIMS Costa Rica Study Abroad (which, by the way, I encourage any BIMS undergrad to apply for). In my application, I wrote a two-page essay that was peer-reviewed by four different people, along with the University Writing Center (super extra, I know). On Nov. 9, at 9:11 a.m., I received an email saying I had been accepted into the program. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe that I had been accepted! In disbelief, I emailed the professor asking if I was actually accepted and he said yes! Another person I know had also been accepted, but she wrote about a paragraph, so I guess I’m an overachiever. But I was extremely happy when I received that email because it showed that all my hard work paid off!

An important lesson I have learned this semester, which is advice I will now always offer to incoming freshmen, is that it is never too early to look for opportunities.

In fact, there are opportunities that have criteria you meet now and not later. I remember regretting not signing up for “Great Disease of the World” (one of the BIMS-directed electives) last spring because I found out too late that I could have gotten a certificate in public health entomology if I had taken that class. Now, I can’t, because you have to complete the class before you have 75 credit hours, which I have.

There are so many opportunities at Texas A&M, like research and study abroad programs, so you don’t have to look very hard to find something that might interest you.