My grandmother instilled in me two important lessons: I was just as good as anyone else, and education was my salvation. Fortunately, I was able to get scholarships to excellent schools, but I was one of the lucky ones. All of this is what draws me to anti-poverty organizations like Oxfam.
You have to move to your own beat. There will be times when no one believes in you or understands what you're doing and why you are doing it. The most important thing is for you to believe in you. Following your own vision is one of the only things that will sustain you. And failure isn't really an option because.
I never wanted to be the person who said, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda." Life is way too short, and you may not last that long. I dropped out of Yale after two years to pursue one of the most uncertain careers - modeling. That seemed like a crazy decision, especially coming from where I came from and given what Yale is. Most people I knew told me so. But I was following what my heart was telling me I needed to do. I took the risk. It could easily have not worked out, but it did. Phew!
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What inspired me most was the resilience of the Cambodian people. The country is still living with the trauma of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. People lost everything - family, friends. The rich culture of Cambodia was nearly extinguished. They are a nation of survivors. And while poverty and infant mortality affect a disproportionate amount of the people there, those I met were hopeful for the future and doing the best they can withwhat they had.
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