Alumni interview, 8th October, 2020.

Hi everyone! My name is Chungleang. I am a student in the United States, UC Berkeley, majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, focusing in Biochemistry. Currently I am applying for grads school, Biochemistry research in the United Kingdom.

Q1: What years did you attend Paragon ISC?

Chungleang: I attended Paragon ISC from 2012 – 2016, and I graduated in 2016. I’m 15th generation.

Q2: What is your most memorable moment from Paragon ISC years?

Chungleang: Mm…I would say going on trips with my friends, we went to Siem Reap; hanging out together and sleepovers in the dorm were like really memorable. We get to spent time with each other a lot.

Another part would be like getting to know my teachers. Mr. Ibrahim, we still talk with each other a lot and he gave me life advices, which are pretty helpful. Considering that I was a high school kid and I was not experienced at anything what I was doing, he guided me through the process of applying, basically getting ready for life I will say.

Q3: Tell us about your current life: university, extracurricular activities that you are doing now.

Chungleang: Oh, yeah of course. So, currently I’m studying in UC Berkeley in US. This is my senior year; I’m studying “Molecular and Cell Biology”, focusing in Biochemistry. Currently I’m part of non-profit organization called “Tuti”, which is Taiwanese based organization. We help out people a lot with medical outreaches; distribute everything like essential items I would say. I’m a medical outreaches coordinator and dental assistant, so we provide people with chiropractic, acupuncture, and dental care.

Q4: How did you prepare for university, college? Could you give us some tips on how you have prepared for the university?

Chungleang:  I attended to college before I transferred to university. Paragon ISC actually prepared me for first two years at college, since we already covered the basic parts of the courses I had to take in college.

I would say self research: read articles or journals, just learn more and get into details about subjects that are required for transferring to Bachelors Degree.

You need to learn how to manage your time, since you will do extracurricular works, preparations, and experiences so you can be a better applicant to compete with others.

Learn how to build a social network, since it is going to be a big part of your life, everyone’s life.

Q5: How did the experiences or your time at Paragon help shape you as a person, moving from being a student to a soon graduate of the University?

Chungleang: Mm…Interesting…I would say being able to spend time with a lot of people in the same class where you spent approximately eight hours or half of the day you learn a lot from them. You can get to know each other, they can teach you things you didn’t know. Before my classmates, friends I was not so social person, but after being able to talk with people from different backgrounds I can say that it was like leverage to jump to my current life. It helps you to get more experience for any aspects of the society.

The other thing learning the courses helps you a lot to determine your career. Since you have been offered different science projects like STEM or math Olympiads you can just learn and see what are your interests.

I was able to pursue my current degree because of how I learnt things in Paragon. I got really excited doing biology and chemistry classes so I talked with some teachers asking advices for the university preparations. They suggested that I can combine biology and chemistry that is why I am doing Biochemistry right now. They gave certain articles to read about to see what people can do with biochemistry and how they can change lives.

Basically, I would say get to know more people around you and your teachers in Paragon ISC will help you a lot in the future.

Q6: Is there any advice you would give to current students, relating to academics or life at Paragon ISC in general?

Chungleang: There are few advices I would share with current students. One would be, get to know your teachers, professors well, so then you will be able to share certain life experiences with them. Actually, to having someone to talk to, to share with is really helpful. I understand that you have to do a lot of studying since you are learning two languages at the same time it could get really stressful so get some help from teachers, professors because they have more experiences, they can guide you through certain obstacles in your life.

Second would be, try to manage your time and do not over stress on just studying. Well it is really important, but being able to learn happily much more important, because you cannot always focus only on studying, there are so much to do, get good grades and also learn how to enjoy your life. You will never know what will happen next, so do not stress too much on your studying, learn how to make friends, you are going to miss them a lot after graduated. Your classmates, your teachers are kind of your second family already, keep in touch with them.

Q7: Can you think of your favorite quote or phrase that you use as a credo?

Chungleang: I would quote saying: “There are no stupid questions; the only stupid question is unasked question”. So, feel free and comfortable to talk with people, ask questions instead of hiding those questions because people are trying to help you. If you ask questions about what to do in your life and what to pursue they will give you advices, people are much kinder, much more open to share with their experiences with you, some people feel better in a way that they help you.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time that you spent to share with us about your experience and thoughts. We wish you all the best and good luck with your research applying.

Chungleang: Thank you so much! I wish everyone the best and again good luck with everything what you do.