Going into the World and Giving Back
Naing Oo understands the value of opportunity – as well as the hard work necessary to take advantage of it.
As a youngster growing up in Burma (now the Republic of the Union of Myanmar), he learned these lessons from his father, who worked for $4 an hour at a laundry mat in New York City and lived on a diet of hot dogs so that he could save the money necessary to bring his family to America.
“As my father always says, ‘America is not for the weak,’” Naing related. “You have to work hard to seek the opportunities out there. You have to earn it.”
That’s exactly what he is doing at Berry. As a charter participant in the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program, Naing has the opportunity to work his way through college with the prospect of graduating debt free. Fittingly, his on-campus job as a resident assistant allows him to earn money toward his educational expenses while lending a helping hand to first-year students adjusting to the challenges of college life.
“My favorite part of being an RA is just working with the students, especially the freshmen students,” Naing related. “Freshmen are so excited to start college, they’re so energetic, but at the same time they’re like these lost little kids. I’m not there to tell them what to do, but to show them the path, to guide them. I love helping out. I’m getting the chance to do that here at Berry.”
Through his work in the residence halls, the international studies major is gaining valuable experience that he can apply toward his dream of a career as a diplomat.
“The way I see it, diplomacy is just helping people out and being a good messenger,” he explained. “As an RA, I have to be a liaison between the students and the administration. It’s really preparing me for my future.”
None of this would be possible without the donors who are helping to fund his Berry education.
“I want to say thank you, thank you so much,” he exclaimed “Perhaps in the future, when I’m successful one day, I can help other students out because of what the donors have done for me.”
Story by Alyssa Hollingsworth, student editorial assistant