It’s been a big year for Pet! Here are the highs and lows of her first year studying teaching at Thailand’s Asia-Pacific International University, in her own words.

Needless to say, we couldn’t be prouder. Thank you to everyone that has made her education possible and the warmest Christmas blessings.

High-light: Being a Student Officer

“This semester I became the Public Relations Student Officer for the Department of Education. Seven other students and I were voted into our positions by our classmates. Honored to have been chosen for a leadership position, I’ve tried my best to help my department.

“My job is to be the connection between the school and the Education students. Together with the other officers, I help to keep our classmates updated on current events, plan field trips, design department shirts, parties, solve problems and so on. It involves a lot of planning, long nights in our cold meeting room, and most of all teamwork. I’m blessed and happy to be a Student Officer for this semester and the coming one.”

Low-light: The Struggle with Biology

“Before I came to university, I didn’t have a strong background in science or math. So when I took one of the mandatory science classes, I knew I was in trouble. Not only do I have two-hour long biology lectures, but three-hour labs which consist of both lecture and practical work like observing specimens in microscopes, cataloguing and memorizing the Latin names for plants and animals, and other such activities.

“My trouble with biology caused me to get a very low grade on my midterm, the lowest I’ve ever received on an exam. However, that low grade has given me the incentive to study harder than before. Even if I don’t end up getting the best grade for this class, I’m determined to be able to say I tried my hardest.”

Reflecting on Life Before University

“Every time I put on my uniform and walk to class, I feel as if I am in a dream. The classrooms, the backpack holding my textbooks, and even the sidewalk doesn’t seem real. This is because for years, going to school was not a possibility for me. Before 2017, the year I enrolled into university, all I ever wanted to do was to go to school.

“I grew up in a very sheltered environment. Because of my upbringing, I was isolated from the world. Homeschooling was all I knew. I was home-schooled by various people at their houses until I was eleven years old, when my parents divorced. My siblings and I were then placed in our father’s custody.

“After that, my middle school and high-school years were an endless repeat of having some people help with my sibling’s and my studies, but usually no help at all. My father completely neglected our health, social needs, and education. Occasionally, he’d provide us with money for textbooks or online school programs, or send us to a school for a couple of months, but these moments were sporadic and most of the time it was us, staring at a textbook, struggling to learn on our own.

“In 2016, I moved out of home and went to work and live in Bangkok with my older sister. I was seventeen, and knew that continuing this effort to educate myself was hopeless. Three months after I moved out, my father took the kids out of school again. After I argued with him about this, he told me I was no longer welcome in his house. It was now me and my sister against the world. However, that all changed.

“Some very good friends of ours offered me and my sister assistance with our education and a place to stay in the meantime. So in June 2016 I moved out of our apartment and went to live with this kind couple. While I was there I finished my GED, did voluntary teaching at various places, and waited. I waited to see if my case to be sponsored for university would be accepted by an organization called El Roi’s Children.

“Finally, sometime in November or December 2016, I came home from the school I volunteered at, and was told that my case had been accepted. I shut myself in my room and tried not to cry. It was unbelievable to me. With loans from this couple and the sponsorship combined, I was able to enter university. I even had the privilege of choosing where and what I wanted to study.

“In January 2017, I enrolled in Asia Pacific International University, majoring in Primary Education. Now, every time I sit in my classroom, surrounded by fellow classmates, I still feel like it’s a dream, but now the dream is changing. Now my dream is to study hard, graduate, and pursue a career where I can provide education for those who, like me, did not have the opportunity.”

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