For this month’s Alumni Update I interviewed Pakou Vang. She was a stellar student in Upward Bound from the winter of 2008 until last summer. Pakou graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis but she joined Upward Bound when she was a freshman at St. Paul Central. Currently, she is attending St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) in St. Louis, Missouri. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a PharmD after she completes her six-year program.
Although the academics keep her very busy, Pakou has branched out while at STLCOP by participating in numerous extra-curricular activities. She is involved in the Programming Branch of the Student Body Union (the student government on campus). The Programming Branch is in charge of the fun activities and events that occur on campus. Pakou has also taken active roles in the Outdoors and Journal Club.
Pakou has really enjoyed her time at STLCOP. One of her favorite experiences thus far was watching a hot-air balloon glow. The event featured 20 hot-air balloons igniting their burners every five minutes to light up the sky. Another thing she really enjoyed was watching the Leonid meteor shower; a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle her friends on top of a parking garage.
When I asked Pakou to think back on her time with UB it was hard for her to think of one specific favorite memory. She did say that overall she treasures the great relationships with the staff and her peers and mentor (Mai Kou Xiong) that she was able to form.
The last question that I asked Pakou was if she had any suggestions for current UB students. She provided plenty of splendid answers. Before I go any farther I must emphasize that we did not pay or tell Pakou to give us these answers. This is just real advice from a former UB student in her first year of college:
Pakou’s Points of Emphasis to UB Students: (Denice can you make this look cool somehow?)
- School has to be your first priority. Do not fail, slack, or think that you can slide by high school and be prepared for college; it is a different level of rigor.
- You can never join too many extracurricular activities – you just have to learn how to balance your time. Being able to manage your time is very important.
- Go out of your way to create good study habits. Do not take the easy way out because it will only come to bite you in the end.
- Apply for scholarships; the earlier, the better.
- Create good relationships with your teachers, other school staff, and employers because they are the ones who will write your letters of recommendations.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions in class, with the Upward Bound staff, or whomever. The people around you are there to help you.
- Finally, Stay optimistic (or as you all probably know it, STAY POSITIVE!)
That’s it for this Alumni Update; stay tuned for more information on UB alumni.