A young Vietnamese man who once went astray and was suicidal finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and managed to obtain a master’s degree from Harvard University.
Tran Dac Minh Trung was always among the top of his class in elementary and middle school, but he grew rebellious during his high school years due to noted pubertal changes.
The teenager began to spend time mingling with bad friends and quickly veered out of the reach of his family and teachers.
One day, Trung was summoned by a male teacher, who told him candidly that he would not go far in his academic studies and should switch to vocational training instead.
The teacher’s advice dealt a devastating blow to the young man and plunged him further into an abyss of desperation.
After struggling through high school, Trung’s family enrolled him in a preparatory university course in the Netherlands.
Living far away from home, Trung’s mental descent picked up speed and quickly spiraled out of control.
When his family could no longer provide for him, the young man resigned himself to doing the dishes at a restaurant to earn money.
“I was in a deadlock then. Once I sat atop a bridge in Amsterdam and the thought of flinging myself into the river beneath to relieve my sufferings suddenly crossed my mind,” Trung recalled.
Half a year later, Trung again contemplated suicide.
Two of his friends stopped his suicidal thoughts short both times.
However, Trung’s impasse was far from over, until an unexpected twist.
In mid-2007, while sitting in a recruitment interview for a university in the Netherlands, he had an enlightening talk with his interviewer, who is a Harvard graduate.
Trung was not admitted into the university, but what the interviewer told him was life-changing: “Never give up. I can see the Harvard element in you.”
That was just what Trung needed then.
Hugely inspired and set on starting his life afresh, the young man returned to Vietnam and landed a job at a real estate company.
After two years of hard work, Trung made enough money to enroll in Texas-based Tarrant County College in the U.S. in February 2010.
“My relatives all objected to my decision to quit my well-paid job and were worried that I might get into my undesirable past habits. I was resolved to prove them wrong,” he revealed.
Trung began to study hard day and night.
His efforts finally paid off when he landed a scholarship to transfer to Pennsylvania University in his third year.
After graduating in political science-international relations from the university, Trung beat thousands of applicants from around the world to gain entry into a postgraduate education course at the top-notch Harvard University.
The prideful man graduated last year to his old friends’ disbelief.
“From my own life story, I realize that the Vietnamese education system still fails to motivate and fully tap students’ abilities. I’d like to make some changes to this,” Trung explained about his decision to major in education for his master’s degree.