By Jeff Vue

Everyone has a reason for why they act the way they do. For me, what inspires me to obtain my dreams is being a Hmong student with roots tracing all the way back to Southeast Asia.

Growing up without a lot of money and parents who cannot speak the English language was hard. From every parent-teacher conference to every open house event at school, there was a huge language barrier. Starting school was even harder as I was bullied from the moment the school bus picked me up, even when I was minding my own business in the classroom. But as the years progressed I grew more and more and learned more and more.

I’ve always had dreams of owning things that I knew I could not have, from luxurious cars to expensive sneakers.  But the reason behind all these dreams is my parents.  They never had any formal education as kids, they were taught how to grow their own food and endure back breaking labor. For them to bring my family to America in search of a better life is truly inspirational. If my parents had chosen to stay in Thailand, I most likely will have to deal with the same amount of difficult labor as they once did.

For my parents to bring my family to America without any idea of what would be in store for us was courageous. While enduring racial tension and even being threatened of losing their lives, they made the best out of a bad situation. Seeing as how my parents and I have had very different lives has shown me how good and easy I have it here in America. My only true job is to attend school which totally beats having to stay at a garden for hours just to tend to crop so you can provide food for your family.

I want to break cultural barriers. Many Hmong males come to America in search for a better life, but some slip through the cracks, becoming just another statistic of gang violence. I want to show everyone that I can become something great. I have a huge interest in the Criminal Justice field and hope to one day serve my community as a  police officer.

Inspiration is what keeps someone driven and motivated. As a second generation Hmong student here in America, my inspiration is my parents. They brought their children here for a reason, so that we could have a better life than them.  I know that one day I will make them proud as I keep myself driven towards my dreams and receive a college degree to show to my parents that bringing my family to America was the right decision.

“Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.” – W.C. Doane