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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 70 – Not Quite Strangers: What Are The Best Ways To Get Ready For College?

Not Quite Strangers | College Life

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Not Quite Strangers: What Are The Best Ways To Get Ready For College?

Welcome back to another episode of the show. I'm a leadership coach and a professional speaker but one of my passion projects is this show primarily because it inspires people to be more curious when you bring two strangers together or someone that's not quite strangers in the case of my guests for this episode. It also brings out curiosity and helps us shift our perspectives on people, values, and philosophies. Hopefully, more than anything, I strive to establish a connection. Not only between the three of us on the show but those of you who are reading have an opportunity to also connect with us and inspire you to connect with people in your community.

If you're not already subscribed, be sure to subscribe so that you don't miss this episode or any others when it's posted. Let's talk about our guests in this episode. I want to start by introducing Bway Paw. Bway, you and I've known each other since seventh grade. One of the memories that I have of us Bway Paw, you are in the Eagle Scholars College Readiness Program and we can talk about what that is for people who don't know. I remember you were going to a dance audition in another high school. This was the first time that you'd gone to this particular dance audition.

I was one of the mentors who volunteered to take you. I was so impressed. I'd never seen you dance. I knew that you'd like to dance but I was like, “She can dance. This is awesome.” You ended up getting a spot at the school to participate. I remember feeling so proud and excited for you. It was nice to feel trusted that I was able to support you during that particular event because I know how important and passionate you were about it. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you for having me.

We'll talk more about your dance in a moment but first I also want to introduce my second guest, Dar. You've been a part of the Eagle Scholars Program. We met when you were in the ninth grade.

It was the summer of sixth grade.

Both of you are rising seniors. I don't believe that.

We met when you were doing the diverse lounge for Eagle Scholar.

I don't think I was doing the diverse lounge. That wasn't me.

You were speaking for sure.

Probably but I do remember the conversation we had because you were about to transfer to another high school. There was a point in time when you were transferring to a high school or a different school. There were a couple of times when I was doing Raise Your Voice.

I remember that one.

I was doing the public speaking class. There are a couple of times when you and I talked about preparing for speeches. There are a couple of activities. I can't remember the assignments that you were doing but we spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to prepare and what you should write about. At the time, I remember you being very introverted. You’re shy. Although you're still very reserved, I can see how much you've grown up, expanded, and more confident you are in expressing yourself. If I'm not mistaken, you like to write. Thank you also for saying yes to being on the show.

Thank you for having me.

I like to ask my guests, why did you say yes to being on a show, granted the three of us have known each other for some time? I'm sure that there's some trust there, I hope. What had you said yes to being on a show?

I accept it because this is a step toward my comfort zone. I've only done one show which is The Nest Podcast with Eagle Scholar. This is another great opportunity to explore and see what the show is all about.

Stepping out of the comfort zone. Bway, what about you?

I said yes because you asked me and also because I always wanted to be in a show.

There you go, wish granted. Your wish is my command. Somebody is reading this and saying, “What is Eagle Scholars?” I could say something but you are in this program. Would one of you or both of you like to say some things about Eagle Scholars for people who've never heard of it before?

Eagle Scholar is a college readiness program for sixth or rising seventh grade to twelfth grade. They still do help us even in college. It's to prepare us for college and know what all college is about. They help us with scholarships and take us on a lot of trips to colleges.

Bway Paw, what would you add to that?

Eagle Scholars take you out to get to know more about yourself and what you're interested in so that when you're stuck in your major, you can go out and look at what you like to do and what you want to do in the future.

Not Quite Strangers | College Life
College Life: Eagle Scholars guide you to know yourself better and what you want to do in the future.

That is so good. I was involved in the program in 2018 and it was a lot about providing my skills as a coach and as a professional speaker and doing it for seventh and eighth graders first. We called it Raise Your Voice and that was a lot of fun. It took a lot of energy. Once a week, the Eagle Scholars participants got together. You all were divided into different courses throughout that period. Every month or every quarter, you change to a different class. Is that how it worked? What was your favorite thing so far? You've been an Eagle Scholar since seventh grade. You're going to be seniors in high school. What's been the highlight of your participation in that program?

For me, it's a variety of college trips that we get to go to. I don't know much college that exists out there so I don't know which college I want to go to so getting to go to college trips is good. We also get to go on this overnight college trip.


We went to the University of Oklahoma. It was a great opportunity.

Do you get the feel of being on campus?


That's your highlight. It was going to the college trips, specifically that overnight. Bway Paw, what about you?

Probably the time when we went to the museum and they were talking about being an archeologist and I was interested. I knew that I wanted to be out there and explore the world instead of being in an office.

This is important stuff to know, things that you all know going into your senior year of high school compared to some of the things that people don't even know as adults. I work with adults or people who've already been in the workforce for some time. Sometimes, they didn't even know before they got into the job, the career, or even the degree that they got into. You all are learning so much about yourself, what's available, what you like, what you don't like, and want to see.

That's the key because you don't waste so much time and you can find something that aligns with you, you're passionate about, and what brings you life. You all didn't start your time in Eagle Scholars. You have an origin story. You come from different countries. The fact that you have come here with your family, there are some things that you've had to learn. English is one of the many languages you speak. Tell us a little bit about your background and when you came to Dallas, Texas. Bway Paw, you start.

I was born in Thailand and I came to the United States when I was five in 2010. I stayed around this area for my whole life. Growing up, it was hard to learn English since I started learning Korean first. When I was in kindergarten, I got in trouble a lot because I was talking a lot and learning about the language.

Even in kindergarten, you're very active. That's awesome. Have you been back to Thailand?

No, I haven't been back since.

Dar, what about you? Tell us your background.

I was born in Myanmar and I came to the United States in 2012, I believe. I lived in the Dallas area but I moved to Garland. Growing up, not knowing English was hard. Everything was new but knowing that our parents sacrificed a lot for us to come to the United States motivated me to learn English fast to try to fit in in school.

Fitting in is so important at any age, especially if you've immigrated here from another country. I'm also an immigrant. I came to the US when I was nine. Sometimes, it’s challenging. You both were so young when you came here. When you think about your culture, your family, and the home culture versus the US or American culture that you've been a part of, what are some of the things that you found most exciting, energizing, or positive?

Probably the way we sit and eat because growing up and as a refugee, we didn't eat professionally. When I came to Eagle Scholar, I learned more about eating etiquette. It was fun.

That was your most exciting piece. Tell us something about the etiquette that you liked or something that you found fascinating. Does anything that comes to mind? I went to the etiquette dinner so it's fresh in my mind. The Eagle Scholars host an etiquette dinner once a year, I believe. At least during the pandemic, we took a bit of a break.

It's generally in a restaurant and there's a speaker that comes and talks about which fork you should start with, how you should lay your fork and knife on the plate when you're done, where you should put your glass and your bread plate. It’s in preparation for you all to go into job interview situations or networking situations, and feel comfortable and confident. Is there anything very different, Bway Paw, for you in the etiquette that you were taught versus how you would eat at home for example?

At home, I would eat alone. We would eat anytime. We would get stuff, a plate fully. We don't give out and pass around stuff. That's what's different.

You get your full meal served to you. It is not something that you pass around other places to each other. I got that. Dar, does anything come to mind for you as an experience having assimilated into American culture that stood out to you, something positive, or interesting?

For me, something positive would be knowing I'll get an education because, in Malaysia, I didn't go to school. I wasn't surrounded by diversity. I stayed at home. I only have friends who are like me. In America, there's a lot of diversity. The thought of going to school and meeting people who weren't like me or someone different from me was something that I was looking forward to. That's something positive.

It's interesting you say this, Bway, because I'm from Panama originally in Latin America. Latin American countries are very diverse where we live. There are people from all different ethnicities because the Panama Canal attracted so many different nationalities. It's not until in the US that not only do you have different nationalities but also people maintain a lot of their culture and ethnicity while here.

We assimilate by learning the language and perhaps some customs. In Dallas, I've had an opportunity to do so many wonderful events and activities that honor different cultures. That's been cool. For me, one of the most challenging things about immigrating to the US, besides the language, and the language is a big one, was also the fact that sometimes I didn't fit in. My dad was in the military so we moved around quite a bit.

I tell people that I didn't know I was Black until I was fourteen years old. The places where you lived up to that point were all military bases. There were a lot of different people that looked a lot different. It was people from different ethnicities with different skin tones. I then went to a high school where there was a distinction between people who were Black and people who were White. They sat in separate places. This was not in the ‘60s. I’m that old.

There was segregation but I remember distinctly walking into my high school cafeteria and seeing, “It feels like I have to decide where to sit based on my skin color.” That was hard. The first few years of high school were very difficult for me. I didn't know how I fit in and I traveled quite a bit. I wasn't a local. I'm curious for you. For the two of you, what's a challenge that you remember experiencing, something difficult or confusing in this country?

It’s learning the language because it was hard. There was nobody older than me to teach me like an older sibling. I had to figure it out by myself. Doing the homework was hard. At first, I started doing it alone but then there were other programs to help me do my schoolwork. Going home and doing all the schoolwork in elementary school was hard because I didn't know English.

You are on your own to do it or figure it out. That's got to be hard. Dar, how about you? What's something hard, challenging, or confusing in this culture or country?

It’s trying to fit in because coming here, everything was new. Trying to fit in would be a challenge only because I didn't know the language. I didn't know how to act around people because I'm not accustomed to things here.

Every immigrant’s biggest challenge is trying to fit in. Everything will be new to them, especially the language.

That's an eternal quest. The more we know ourselves and the more we are passionate about what we do, the easier it is to fit in because we, hopefully, are attracted to activities or people who are like us. That's one thing that I admire about the two of you. Both of you are so creative. I have not only seen your dancing, Bway Paw but also, Dar, your writing. I'm curious, what are you guys doing with these talents and skills? How are you expressing this part of yourself?

Since I'm taking advanced English classes, I do have to write a lot of essays so that helps me. When you apply to college, I know you have to write a lot of essays. Using what I already know and what I can already do in writing helped me more. Sometimes, I just write for fun.

What things do you like to write?

About anything. Sometimes it could be about how my day went.

Is this for your personal use or part of your essay writing?

Sometimes it's for personal and sometimes it’s for school or scholarship. Eagle Scholar helps us with scholarships. That's about it.

It sounds like you write for pleasure but it's also a very practical use with your classwork and for applications. With writing though, I don't think we talked about this but I'm in the process of writing a book. It has these challenges but I don't enjoy writing as much as I enjoy speaking. I'm having a big challenge in sitting down to write. Give me some tips. How do you stay focused on your writing?

I try to go somewhere quiet because I do get distracted very easily or go to a space where I feel safe and comfortable. That helps me focus when I'm writing. Sometimes I listen to music or I'll talk to my friends to get ideas. I'll tell them, “This is what I'm writing. Can you guys give me ideas?” If it's for school use, I'll ask them for help and whatever idea they give me, I put them together and jot down some writing. Sometimes I write anything on paper.

Do you draft?

I’m writing a first draft.

After that, I'll write down anything and fix it later on.

Do you handwrite first and then write on a computer?

I like handwriting first because computers stress me out. I handwrite first and then put it on the computer sometimes.

What do you notice is the difference when you write by hand versus computer?

With my hand, I just keep going but with the computer, I seem to stop. When you run on a computer, do you know the red line that tells you your spelling is wrong? That takes me up. On paper, I keep going without stopping. Writing on paper helps me better.

I've never thought about that. You’re giving me a good idea but you're right. If you're writing on a Word document, it will tell you where to correct certain spelling or the grammar's off. It is like a piece of criticism that interrupts the flow of writing. I might start doing that, continuing to write and see what comes out. That might be less inhibiting for me. I like that idea. Bway Paw, for you, dance is important. First of all, you went to that school for dance. Did you stay there? Are you still in that school?

Yes, I'm still at school. I'm glad you took me there.

I made a difference. Talk to us about dance. What kind of dancing do you do? What inspired you to start dancing?

Back in elementary school when I took summer classes, we had this program. I don't know but it was in Jackalope where some people go to karate or dance class. I took the dance class. It was fun. I was interested but there was no dance class in elementary school. When I went to middle school, my dance teacher was nice. She inspired me to continue dancing so I decided to go. That's when you took me. I was glad. I was on and off about it because it was during the pandemic and I was stressed out. Thinking about it, I'm going to stay because it feels like home there.

What kind of dance do you do?

We do ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern. It’s anything because we take college classes with it. Professors come and teach us.

You haven't invited me to a recital or anything. Dar, you haven't shown me any of your amazing writing. What's up with that?

I keep forgetting.

Even see a video or email me something you've written, Dar. I would love to see how you all have continued to blossom. How well do you guys know each other? Do the two of you know each other well?

We've known each other since elementary school.

She taught me how to ride a bike. I remember that.

How was it?

It was good because I was trying to learn how to ride a bike and nobody would teach me. I didn't how to so then she taught me, and then I got a bike the next day.

Look at that, making a difference in each other's lives. Dar, what do you remember about Bway Paw from elementary school?

Bway Paw was a spontaneous girl. She was so outgoing and very bubbly. I knew I wanted to be friends with her.

Bway Paw, what do you remember about Dar besides teaching you how to ride a bike?

She's nice and hard-working.

Both of you are extremely hard-working for sure. I know that. I've seen it in action. I'm curious, at this point in your lives, you're both in high school. You've gone through so much together and separately. You're both very creative. You've been trained through these programs to learn what you want to do in the future. What are some things that you still feel like you need to know? What are some things that make you a little maybe nervous or uncertain about the future?

I would say getting out in the world because I don't think I'm ready for that. By going out in the world., you have to do things by yourself. I'm used to people helping me out when I need help. I'm still scared of getting out in the world and doing things on my own. If I need help, I got to help myself and do everything on my own. Navigating through stuff alone is still pretty scary.

Adulthood means going out into the world and doing things all by yourself.

Can I give you some advice? Stop thinking that. Many of that is part of the culture in this country for sure, a Western ideal. To be independent is important, which is. I've done a lot of things on my own but it's taking me years to realize that there are always people there to support me. Most of the time what was missing was me thinking that I had to do it myself. That's what got in the way of people supporting me and asking me to help and offering me ideas or teaching me how to ride a bike because I wasn't asking for it. I thought I had to do it by myself.

That's why I say to put that thought away. That's not true. You do not need to do things on your own. You can find the right people to support you. Maybe not everybody needs to know or has to help you with everything but if you find the right people, that makes a huge difference. One is faster. Why do you want to do things on your own? It's going to be slower and take more money, energy, and time. That's my piece of advice. What do you think about that?

It's pretty good.

Find five people that you know you can count on for different things. It’s almost like having, I call it, a circle of influencers. 4 or 5 people, that's all you need. One person who can move in the same direction as you are, that's goal-driven, has a similar goal perhaps, or has already been in that goal. Someone who can support you in getting there. Some people know people. They know resources to go to. They know where to get the answers to different questions.

Find someone that you can feel comfortable celebrating or commiserating with. Lastly, find people who also challenge you and make you think differently, show you a different perspective or different path but can do so in a respectful way because they love and care about you, not because they want to be critical. If you can be key about that, you will always find people to help. That's a little advice from Miss Valerie. Is there anything else about, Dar, that concerned you about people or going out there on your own?

The other thing would be I'm not used to approaching people. I let people approach me so I know that when I'm out there, I need to learn how to approach people.

Was it you? Maybe it wasn't you or somebody else in Eagle Scholars that I had a conversation with that said sometimes it's harder and more impactful to be interesting than to be interested. Maybe you don't have to. I'm not just talking about attracting in a romantic type of way but attracting people because you're open, curious and people know that you will be interesting to speak to.

You’re a person that appreciates and acknowledges them. People always want to come like, “Do you need help with that? I have this idea.” People want to give to people who know how to receive in other words. You’re a person that's also very helpful. You wouldn't have taught Bway Paw to ride a bike. Bway Paw, what about you? What's on your mind about the future? What makes you concerned and nervous?

The same thing as she said in the beginning, going out in the world and being all alone. Since you said it, I get it. Also, knowing what I want to do because I don't know what I want to do yet. I can't tell if I want to continue dancing. I don't know what interests me.

Have you seen so much?

There's so much to do but I don't know what to do. I'm scared what if I don't succeed or won't get that goal?

You have a goal and you're afraid that won't succeed or you don't know what you want. Which is it?

I have a goal but there are so many things I want to do. I just don't know what to choose.

What happens if you choose all of them?

Can you choose all of them?

I don't know. Can you? Dar, what do you think?

You can because it's like an opportunity for you to explore. At that moment, you'll go on tours. In that process, you'll find something that attracts you. You can choose all of them. It's a chance for you to explore and see what you're good at.

Not Quite Strangers | College Life
College Life: Before you go to college, explore what you really want to do. You cannot choose everything you want to pursue.

What do you say about that?


There you have it. Dar has given you permission to do it all. Bway Paw, you're bubbly and very expressive like Dar said. I know too. That's been my experience of you. You’re fearless. You do things that scare you all the time at least from what I've seen of you. What advice do you give young people or even older people like me that’s maybe a little shy or not going out there and taking chances?

I don't know because even I am scared to go out and approach people. I don't know why do it but I do it. I try to hide the fact that I'm scared to talk to them. At the same time, I show them that they can help me and I can help them. We both have a positive impact on each other but at the same time, I go and talk to people so that I'm not there alone. It’s like how I don't want to sit alone in the cafeteria. I'm out there talking to people even though I'm scared. Be yourself. If you and the people around you like you, then they're the right person for you. If you and other people don't like you, then they’re not meant to be in your life.

What's a good tip? What is your starter or opening line when you go up to meet someone new? What do you say?

I say hi. I just be who I am. I'm shy and I show them that I'm shy but at the same time, I show them that I want to talk to them and get to know them.

Shy and courageous. Saying hi, look at that. It’s simple. If you could ask each other a question, maybe something you've heard or talked about, or maybe ask me a question about anything. What questions come to mind? Ask anything you want.

Can you continue supporting me in the future?


Both of you.


I'll continue supporting you.

A hundred percent. Tell us how can we support you.

Maybe in the future when I need something or somebody. There are things that I'm not so good at and you’re good at so I can go and ask your help.

Take note of the things you are not good at and ask other people for help.

You said something interesting there because this idea of finding people who are good at other things that you're not always good at or you don't feel as comfortable doing or maybe a little bit more difficult for you is a key way of finding who are the right people to support you. “What is this person good at that I'm not?” Sometimes we take for granted that we have to be an expert in everything. It's like, “No, find people who are good.” Wouldn't that be cool if Dar wanted to learn some new dances or if I wanted to learn? Bway Paw could teach us some steps. You can do a choreography. I don't have to figure this out on my own.

Dar can help me write because I'm not so good at writing.

Dar is already helping. She's going to help me. You didn't know that. That's why I was asking you questions about writing but you're going to help me start writing my book. Any other questions, Bway Paw?

Nothing in mind.

Dar, what about you? What questions do you have for us?

I want to ask Miss Valerie. What was your favorite part of high school? Is there anything you wish you would have done differently in high school?

The first two years of high school were very hard. I didn’t make a lot of friends on purpose because I didn't feel like I fit. I kept my circle of friends very small. I was voted Most Studious in my class because all they saw was me in a classroom with a book. What they didn't know is I wanted to connect with people but I didn't feel that I fit in. Those first two years, I kept to myself.

The good thing was the 2 or 3 friends that I had recommended I joined the marching band because they wanted to try out too. They wanted all of us to do it together and I was like, “Marching band, really?” It was with a color guard with all the flags. I was like, “I think I can do that.” We all tried out. We all made it into the band and the band changed my life primarily.

Everybody in the band has a story about not fitting in. It’s the band of misfits. We had a wonderful band director. I invited him to be on the show before. We had a chance to talk about that experience and he was instrumental in so many ways in my life. That was the best part of high school. I don't regret anything. I did the best with what I had and what I knew at the time.

I wish I hadn't been so judgmental. Part of what kept me separate from people those first two years was because I was so judgmental about it like, “I've done this. I've traveled to other places and here I am in this high school where most people grew up together.” Somehow I thought they couldn't connect with me but had I been more open and curious about people I could have gotten closer.

My other question is as a writing senior, I know after senior year I'm going to transition into college life. I am not that excited yet because in college, I will be away from my family. What advice would you give?

I'm going to twist it up first. What advice have you heard so far? What are some things the two of you have heard about going to college and getting ready for college?

Most of the stuff I heard is to make friends. Don't think too much about it, go for it and make a lot of friends. A lot of people say, “Enjoy the college life. Don't be scared of this and that. Go for it.”

Not Quite Strangers | College Life
College Life: Don’t think about college too much. Just go for it, make a lot of friends, and enjoy.

For you for sure because I know how reserved you are sometimes. Bway, you be careful. You slow down. Dar, you go. Bway, pause and take your time. Part of it depends on you, your goals, and your personality. It will tell you a lot. College experience gave me an opportunity like what Eagle Scholars does for you. It gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about myself.

I focus on college more on the experience of learning how I learned best because you are on your own. You select your classes and study time. All of these decisions are yours. We're not in high school anymore where somebody's telling you, “Read this book. Do this thing. Come to class.” There are a lot of rules in high school that you have to follow. In college, you don't have anybody making you follow rules. You get to learn a lot about your discipline and preferences.

For example, I learned that I study better and do better in classes in the morning. I was one of the rare people because I’m a morning person. Going to 8:00 for me was much easier. I could not stand going to class at 4:00 in the afternoon or 5:00 like some people. I was like, “I'm tired. I don't want to go.” My mind wasn’t as clear. I wasn't as focused. Those are the things that I paid attention to. Learn as much about how you learn, what makes you come alive, and what's important to you. Pick a couple of social things that you know, not only helpful in making friends but you know that you care about.

For me, it was working with students that were coming from other countries. I went to the University of Alabama and studied Public Relations in Spanish. Some of the most meaningful things that I did were because of the international community that I got to connect with. Find something you're passionate about and start doing that. You'll make friends. You'll do things that you can put on your resume. You'll get better at some skills. Those are my two pieces of advice. You can take it anywhere and do that no matter what school or what you study. What do you think about that, Dar?

That's pretty good advice to carry on.

If you like writing, find people who are writing in newspapers, in yearbook writing courses, or writing short stories. That might be a great way for you to connect socially and also do something you love. You have to ask each other questions.

My question for Bway Paw is, what has been the most memorable about high school?

It’s making a different group because when I went to high school, I knew nobody. No one. Not even a single person. When I went to school for being a freshman, it was during the pandemic and then I went for a few days and didn't go in a few days. During the days I went, I had a friend who I would always follow. I was her last puppy and she's a part of our friend group. It was memorable because I was following her. I was chasing her and that's why we're closed.

Shout-out to your friend.

I got to make new friends and I learned how to make new friends. Growing up, I was always with the same people from elementary to middle school. When I went to high school, that was so scary because I didn't know if I could make new friends or not. I thought I was going to be having to sit in a cafeteria alone. That was what I was scared of.

None of that happened. You found someone. That's awesome. The two of you have both brought up this idea during the pandemic and school and your experience of school. I've heard some things but I've not heard it from actual students that were living it. I'm curious about what was it like going to school online. What was it like during the pandemic for you all?

I feel isolated from the world and I feel like I was all alone. Talking to people and getting to know people was harder. I was more insecure talking to people.

What made you feel so alone?

It was just like you and the computer. It didn't feel like people around you.

For me, it's both a positive and negative experience. The positive thing was during the pandemic, I got to focus on my work. As a shy person, it was a great opportunity to get away from people. The negative thing is being so used to being on a computer. I was relying too much on the internet to connect with people. When we went back to school, I didn't realize I needed to make friends. I was losing my social skills during the pandemic. When I went back to school in person, it was hard trying to connect with people because I was so used to the internet helping me. That's the experience I had.

From what grade did you do online, the two of you?

In my whole freshman year, I did Zoom. It was all internet. I went back in person sophomore year.

For me, it was the end of the eighth-grade year. I did the summer of high school because I had to take some summer classes for high school. I did a few Zooms for high school because I didn't want to go to school but then I had got my grades lower so they wanted me to go to school. I had to go for 1 or 2 days to school and I could stay home. It’s two days a week of school.

It sounds like your grade suffered while you were on your own. Sometimes being disconnected is harder.

I didn't want to do it.

You are going to your senior year, your final year of high school. What are 1 or 2 things that you're looking forward to in the last year of high school?

It’s to go out more. I interact more with people so that they can remember me.

Make your mark.

The freshmen know me and like me.

I’m not surprised.

I would pass it. I'm most excited about meeting new people in senior year and getting to do the senior activities. Overall, it's getting to know more people because, in senior year, there are a lot of things that the seniors have to do together. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone even more.

College allows you to meet new people and get out of your comfort zone.

Yes to both of you. Senior years and the opportunity to get to know some of the people that you were shy about getting to know and do some of these activities that are going to be helpful to you. Sometimes, people take a lot of unnecessary risks. You don't have to be careless to have a wonderful time in your senior year. Do things that are interesting and things that help make it memorable in a good way, a positive way, or a way that you're proud of. You're proud of yourself and the people that you're with.

I'm so excited for the two of you. I’m grateful that I had an opportunity to be a part of a small fraction of your life coming up through high school and learning some different skills. Know that you have me and other mentors that you can always connect to. Even if it's been years since you've seen each other or me, I welcome you guys to reach out. Any final words before we end our time together?

This has been a great experience being on a show. I want to thank you for inviting us.

This is your second time. Tell us what’s it been like being on the show.

It's been a long time since I was Zoom call. It feels great. I want to talk like this again. This is nice.

It’s been good. Welcome back to Zoom. Bway Paw, what about you? Any final words? What was this like?

I would like to say thank you for this experience. My friend group and I wanted to make a show on our own but it never worked out. We didn't get to do it but this is my first show. Thank you for taking me to, I don't know if it was that diverse lounge. You helped me write a speech and talk in front of people even though it's still hard for me to talk in front of people. I’m getting better at it.

I am so grateful that I could support you too in that way. The thing that makes anything better is to continue to practice. The only way you build confidence is by having the courage to practice. That's it. The more courageous you are, the more confidence you build. I'm so glad that you guys said yes. Bway Paw, maybe this is going to be the inspiration that you and your friend group needed to do it. You both have so much to say and offer.

You're so eloquent, expressive, and doing some wonderful things. I'm so proud of the two of you. I'm glad that I’ve considered and hopefully, considered your friend. You’re all my young friends. I'm sure that those have been reading, there are probably a couple of nuggets that they took away and wouldn’t have thought of until you two said it. Thank you for that.

Thank you.

For those of you reading, thank you so much. If you haven't already, please subscribe, like us, and rate us on your favorite platform. Hopefully, this will be an opportunity for you to keep meeting new people and nothing else. Have these conversations with the people around you. There are other high school students or rising seniors who might need your advice, who might want your wisdom, or perhaps an opportunity for you to hear what they're up to and where you can support them.

Bway Paw and Dar gave us some wonderful topics to discuss and questions to answer. I encourage all of you to go out there and find someone, a young person that you can connect with, talk to, and provide not only advice but also receive some tips from them. You guys have learned some stuff. I'm quite impressed with the two of you, too. I'll say goodbye to everybody else for now.


Important Links

Strangers: Bway Paw & Dar Cuai 

From: Thailand/Texas, USA & Myanmar/Texas, USA 


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