Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
To be completely honest, The University of Texas at Austin was not my main college choice. I had other hopes, applying to six other institutions. After all my efforts into college apps, I had no choice but to attend UT. But now, I have barely any bitterness towards my rejections. UT is an institution full of incredibly bright, open-minded and social young people of all backgrounds. I know I will be able to learn so much about this world through my experiences here.
What’s your dream job after graduation?
I hope not many people expect me, as a freshman, to give a thorough answer to this. After all, graduation is only, I don’t know …45 months away? 1,350 days away? I think I’ll take some more classes and participate in some organizations before I reach a more definite conclusion. However, I’m not completely in the dark. At this moment, I plan to get a career in the bioinstrumental industry, making artificial organs or limbs and help improve the functionality and reduce the cost of current technologies. Especially since health care costs are so high these days, we need to find alternative solutions to not make a profit, but to dedicate our efforts in ways that will maximize consumer benefits. I am also giving myself the option of medical school if my biomedical goals don’t turn out well.
If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
I am not particularly fond of this question. Why limit myself to just one spot? Honestly, I can’t choose any one location. Rather, any place with a plethora of unique, authentic local food would work as a place I want to go visit. Sure, I’ve heard of samosas from India, crepes from France, fondue from Switzerland. But I also want all the cuisines in between! (My philosophy on food: we (are supposed to) eat three times a day for all the years that we live. Why not make each meal worthwhile?)
What music are you listening to?
Although I am a classically trained violinist, I try my best to appreciate all forms of music. Lately, I have made several feeble (but honest) attempts of playing jazz or blues violin. Of course, this does not mean every piece of music is a good one. There exists a lot of music, especially in the contemporary era, which is too superficial, failing to convey a heartfelt tale of emotions. Every song sounds like the next. Rarely have I listened to a song that forced me to reflect on my life. Instead, I yawn due to lack of neural stimulation.
What are your favorite Web sites? Why?
The New York Times: One of the most widely read and most well-written newspapers in the United States, The New York Times is definitely one of the most reliable sources, in my opinion, for current events and excellent writing.
YouTube: Why read the news when you can watch it? No, I don’t disprove of reading at all, but there are some great channels which bring important news and impeccable analysis. There are also other channels such as Freddiew and WongFuProductions when I need time to relax.
Gmail: I get maybe 20 or 30 emails a day from the university. I’m a bit amused that none of those emails have shown up in my spam box yet.
What’s your pick: Tex-Mex or Texas barbecue?
There’s a difference? Despite my seven years in the states, I don’t think I’ve ever had authentic Tex-Mex food. Chipotle probably doesn’t count. Texas barbecue has way too much sauce, so I’ll probably have to side with Chipotle.
Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?
Again, I am only a freshman, so my knowledge of Austin is very limited. From what I have explored, my favorite place is probably Kinsolving dining because of its cheap buffet (I don’t know of any place that can beat $4.86 per buffet dinner). Aside from that, Mount Bonnell features a beautiful view of the Colorado River and overlooks some incredibly affluent homes. And on a trip to visit UT, my parents and I got lost in Mayfield Park, a nature trail next to Mount Bonnell.
What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Currently, I am studying biomedical engineering. I have always had a love for the sciences, especially biology. Additionally, I plan to get a second major in either government or psychology. Any knowledge that improves society is knowledge worth knowing.
What tip would you give to someone new to the UT campus?
Don’t let the lack of parental supervision cause you to deviate from your greatest life goals. Yes, we have a lot of freedom. But we should remember the core reason for attending such a prestigious university. Just because we are the No. 1 party school does not mean we are also driven to succeed. Also, I get about seven hours of sleep on most school nights, as opposed to five in high school.
Tell us a little about your family:
Both my parents were born in Saigon, Vietnam. A few decades after the Vietnam War and the communist takeover, they flew from the country, my mother with help from the United States Government, and my dad by a treacherous boat journey. Eventually, my parents, who met each other when they were young, finally reunited in Canada. Most of my relatives live in beautiful San Jose, California. A year or two later came their only major disappointment (me). No I’m totally kidding!! After living in Canada for over a decade, the three of us moved to Houston and then Sugar Land.
What are your favorite free-time activities?
I run the New Territory Quidditch Club back in Sugar Land. Yes, we fly, so don’t ask.
I have been playing the violin for over seven years.
Sometimes (less often than I should), I jog as my main form of exercise … mostly because I do not want to crush my opponents in competitive sports.
Name one interesting or quirky thing about yourself:
I love to play (benign) pranks on others. It gives me great satisfaction to see their humorous reactions. Usually, I limit my mischievous acts to hiding books or backpacks in visible places. I assure you, I don’t do anything harmful!