My Plan Essay

The following is one of two winning essays composed for the 2012 The Mary Cone Barrie Scholarship. The scholarship is one of few annual awards that recognize non-traditional students and their pursuit of lifelong learning.

My name is Moon Soe, and I am a junior student at Metropolitan State University, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, pursuing a degree in secondary mathematics education. This spring 2012, I am taking four classes at the indicated institute above while also working full-time during weekdays. I am planning to finish all my required courses in spring, 2013 and begin my student teaching in Fall 2013. Coming to Minnesota as a refugee from Thailand, I was so enthusiastic and hopeful to continue my education for a better life. I attended Century College as soon as I got my GED six months after I resettled in Minnesota. I was the first generation who finished a two year college, and I’m now working on to finish my bachelor degree. I am originally from Burma (also called Myanmar) and also an Ethnic Karen, one of the very recent immigrants in Minnesota and in many other countries all over the world. While living in a refugee camp in Thailand, I was hoping for a better life, but I didn’t have a choice or a chance. Sometimes I blamed myself because I felt envious of the world and people that had more opportunities. Living in the camp for 13 years, I thought I was never going to be able to continue my education, and I had so little hope when I thought about my future. However, I am really happy now that I could start to dream about my future in real life and not a daydream anymore. Working fulltime and going to school fulltime might be a little difficult, but in order to finance my family without giving up on my dream, I motivate myself everyday to have enough energy. I understand how it must have been hard for my family since they do not speak English and understand much about life process in the United States.

When I started college, I was very happy, but clueless. It felt amazing that I had the opportunity to continue my education, but I did not know how to make it through my first semester. However, I said to myself that I should grab this great opportunity, or it would go pass me. I looked up for supports from every resource I could get from college, and surprisingly I made it through smoothly for the last three years. I feel so grateful and honored that I am going to be the first generation in my family ancestry who is graduating from college.

Undeniably, I believe there are many people in the world that are in the same situation as me. Having gone through a hard time to survive, I would say it is fortune and hope that bring me to this life stage. At the beginning it was challenging for me to declare my major because the world I grew up is too different to where I am now. However, I always knew in my heart that I love working with teenaged children. Also as a student, I always love math and have great desire to enrich my knowledge in mathematics education. After assessing what my passions and my abilities are, I decided to become an urban secondary math teacher hoping I could help guide these wonderful children to grow intellectually and pursue what they desire to.

My interest in teaching began while I was teaching as a non-licensed teacher for almost two years at a diverse post-secondary school in the refugee camp. However, I felt bad for I was not able to provide my students with the best quality education because I was not well-trained but given the job due to community’s need. Then, since 2009 until now, having worked in an urban secondary public school in Saint Paul as an educational assistant, I really love my job as an educator. As a result, I would like to take a step further to become a good educator for the lifelong learning journey of the new generations. After I get my teaching license, I am planning to teach at an urban secondary school. I am also very proud to be part of community education and represent many Karen immigrants in Minnesota. Receiving scholarship would really help me graduate timely. This scholarship is not going to be just a financial support, but for me it is evidence to prove to my urban students as someone who was once hopeless now has accomplished something great.

My last hope is one day I would like to become a useful resource person in my Karen community as a professional in education. My fellow ethnic Karen has been fleeing war and became refugees for many decades. Many generations missed educational privilege. Many children did not have educational opportunities because of life they had to go through. I was once like these children and was not happy with my life. Therefore, I hope to be able to help make a difference in these children life so that their dream may come true as other children in the world.

To learn more about the Mary Cone Barrie Scholarship, please click here.

As a current senior in high school, I have reached the point where it is time for me to decide what I want to do with my life.  Throughout my four years in high school, I have been intrigued by a variety of different paths such as teaching, marine science, and even journalism.  After growing up a little and taking a better notice of my interests and likings, I have noticed my love for sports, fitness, and health.  My first plan for the future is to graduate from Oakland Mills High School and receive my high school diploma.  After this I will attend East Carolina University, or ECU, in Greenville, NC. I want to major in exercise science and minor in exercise physiology. My first few years in college I would like to gain experience in the field by obtaining a work-study position that will help me develop new skills in exercise science work such as a student athletic trainer. I would also like to play club lacrosse for ECU during my four years there.

 Either my junior or senior year in college I would like to study abroad in Europe.  I hope to get work-study on campus my freshmen year so I can save up money by the time this comes around.  After four or five years of school I would hope to graduate with a bachelors degree.  After graduation I do not want to settle down right away.   I would either want to volunteer for the peace core abroad for a year in the Middle East or travel on my own, if possible.  After this I would want to move back to Maryland or D.C. so I can be close to my family.  I would like to either get a job in training, therapy, or coaching.  While the future is undecided and unknown, it is a time for changes and new things.  Although I know it will be a long journey I will remain open to all possibilities and be proactive while continuing to asses all of my options.

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