My College Essay

In our English literacy class, we were required to write two college essays. Here’s one of my college essays that reflects my opinion about the SAT test. 

My heart was racing. Time was rapidly counting down. My head was looking downward at stack of A4 papers, full of writings, trying to search for a correct answer. I was struggling. I skeptically circled “C” to all the leftover questions that I didn’t get through.   

“Time’s up! Pencils down!” my facilitator precisely announced. The SAT test was over; the burden was finally off my shoulder. I was filled with worries when I overheard that another student had gone through all the questions, while I didn’t have enough time to get through approximately 15 questions.

I was always being told that “the SAT scores can’t define who I am as a person,” which is true, but it limits my access to many opportunities for overseas scholarships. If my SAT score doesn’t fall in a certain range, I would not be eligible for applying for scholarships or even worse than that, I don’t even have the permission to apply as an applicant even if I have money to pay for my tuition.

I sometimes would sit down and ask myself, “WHY?” Everyone was born with their individual unique quality, but why is their ability being judged and compared over a timed test? I’m not for the idea of comparing my work to another student’s work while I might take way more time than one might.

In addition to the test, passages and questions that are used in the SAT are sometimes American based that we Cambodians wouldn’t be able to comprehend. There are older styles of English writing used. Even some Americans where English is the first language agrees that the styles of questions are hard for them to understand, and now it is me, a second language English learner, a 16 year old, a Cambodian, trying to do good on the SAT.

I might not have the scores that those colleges out there are looking for, but I have this courage to keep smiling and learn from my failures. I have this heart to offer girls the opportunity to play sport, though they came from a background where girls aren’t encouraged to play, so I’ve sacrificed my weekend to train them. I have this ambition of making my own country into a better place it could be. I am Neang, and I’ve helped over 200 dogs and cats injected free rabies vaccinations, I’ve been on a film making internship and spent over 5 months to create an hour long musical that no other 16 year-olds had done before, I’ve led a play, but I am just not a test score.  

I am not here to say that we should abolish every timed test that exist in the world, but I am here to express my feelings about these challenges that I’ve faced as a Cambodian highschooler. I want a better way to measure student’s ability rather than SAT being a standardized test. I don’t want anyone to judge on how successfully I can answer questions in a set amount of time because “there’s really so much more to me than that.” – Victoria Justice.

Creating a Featured Film _ Internship

“if you are not going to make a picture, no one else will.” This is a quote by Gregory Crewdson that I’ve learned from a documentary featuring him during his process of making his photograph. There’s no single object in his photo that was not a decision. 

I watched his documentary as part of my learning process. I was on an internship. Our vision was to create a musical that could feature Cambodian as well as our arts at a more creative level in a one hour long film. Me and my 8 Liger friends were down at a Battambang province, locates in the Northwest part of Cambodia. 6 months straight of our school time was dedicated to the project. We watched a bunch of films, analyzed, meditated to further understand the process as well as key concepts within film. The internship was offered by the Human Agency, which is a media company that create videos for advertising with bases in California and Japan. It was my great pleasure to work with their processional crews including their cinematographer, musician/podcast, screen writer and documentary person. 

The time was crazy short. We had a bit over a month to finish our whole filming process with a breakdown of 38 scenes. Each of us wrote a scene and directed them ourselves with the support from the Human Agency crews.  My main role was to film the process of us making the film since it mainly done by us kids age 15 – 17, anyone could easily find me holding a camera taking pictures of videos of people.  

It was a real work. We sometimes woke up at 3 in the morning, or went to bed till 5 in the morning just because we need to keep shooting. It’s not like a one-take thing where we only need one time to capture the moment we are looking for. It was even more challenging to keep control of the performers since they are older and that they are professional circus performers/dancers. Filming wasn’t just about making sure we got everything we need, but it’s also about being cheerful and supportive with the team members.  Beyond that, it was really challenging for us since we didn’t just have to deal with the work from the internship, but also have to keep on practicing math and literacy that our teachers from school gave, so we could still know what’s going on at school. Teamwork was also full of disagreements, so of course we also had to deal with our dramas along the way, which was quite emotional. We also had to deal with quick decision relating to the change in plan, which could sometimes turn us really frustrating.

I’m truly proud of the whole team that have put in a lot of work and time into trying to turn our imaginations to live. We are in our post-production process right now and I am really looking forward to seeing the product that could come out of it.

Thank you Ryan for offering this amazing opportunity and thanks to your crews for teaching us. I’ve had so little experience with camera work and filming in general. Now, I am confident to hold a camera and film anything at anytime and I know what to do if I want to bring something that I have in mind to become real. The memories we made as a team with the Phare students and the Human Agency team are unforgettable and uncountable. 

Round 1 Math

My stress level keeps building up as the real SAT test is slowly approaching. In our essential classes, we focus mainly on ideas and questions that will be on the actual SAT test. While everyone else had the chance to be in school, prepping, I was away on an internship which will continues on till the end of December. It was challenging, working while trying to keep track of my math hours and without a teacher guidance. Khan Academy is one of my resources that I used for the preparation. At the same time, I also used cracksat website to get SAT questions in which it allows me to get familiar with the test questions itself.  There were variety of questions from different areas, algebra, geometry as well as trigonometry. My goal was to an hour of math everyday. Due to the busyness, it was difficult to keep up the work, so I also had to dedicate my weekend time into math practice. 


The Network

June 8th, 2018

The end of my 2017 – 2018 school year has approached really quickly. It ended with three amazing performances by our seniors and juniors students of a play, The Network. The play was mainly about how people used the network as part of their daily life and how it has an impact on people in both positive and negative way. The play was about 90 minutes long. I do think acting is fun, but I decided to try on taking on a new job, which I had no clue of what I would be doing to get my job done; I only knew that I would not be involved in acting at all. I was asked by my teacher, Alli, if I wanted to become our play’s stage manager. I thought about it overnight and I said “Yes”. It was a huge risk for me, but with some support from my teacher, I figured out what to do. In class, I would be helping to give advice to actors about where they should be standing as well as offering suggestions for improvement. I also took control of our production side: light cues, sound cues, costumes, and props as well as making sure my people were doing work that was assigned. We did our play at the Department of Performing Arts on the 6th, 7th and 8th of June. Before the play and during the play, a job as a stage manager was tough for me. I had to make sure our props were all in place, our lights were correctly programmed, our sounds were ready to go, etc. We had some issues with lights, but we finally figured it out. I was wrapped in wires with a walkie-talkie so I could communicate with my teammates while running the play. I was stressed out, but I did try to calm myself down and kept working at my best. I was proud of people’s comment about the play itself; I realized that I did it and that I had done my job! Taking risk is tough and feel uncomfortable, but we better take risks to experience what is new in order to explore what we are not capable of.

Khmer Model United Nations

May 24th, 2018

Feeding the World’s Growing Billion, Air Quality and Pollution Control are hot topics that are being discussed for solutions everywhere in the world. Liger have also taken the topic and present in a slightly distinctive way by debating the topics in all Khmer format following the Model United Nations (MUN) process. Everyone would be a representation of a country which is known as “delegate”. I was the delegate of France. It was a new experience doing MUN and was stressful due to the time limit we got, but we did it so well. I found the experience could benefit me in a variety of ways: I can use more advanced Khmer words, but at the same time, I could also learn about the country I represented and be able to improve my public speaking skill. I like the experience and I am really looking forward to more of this next year. Below is a link to our first Khmer MUN preview that was created by my friend, Samady Sek.

Frisbee Coaching – Camkids – Kampong Speu

6th May 2018

It was a great time spent down at Kampong Speu on a Sunday morning. Me and a few of my other friends did a three-hour long frisbee coaching for kids at a community school, Camkids. We can see the excitement and smiles on their little faces; they were having lots of fun. We taught them throwing techniques, game techniques as well as rules for the game. We can share loves through a variety of ways and I am proud that I am one of a distributor of this training. We also donated 4 frisbees for the school so those kids can continue on practicing in their free time.  


March 30th

My happiness comes from people’s smile. If I can do any skills that I am capable of doing to fulfill people’s needs, I would do so. I am proud to be one of the Surveying exploration’s member. Our main goal was to create our own, precise survey to collect data about three villages down at Kampong Speu, one of the provinces in Cambodia. We will analyze the data by ourselves and write them out or display them in a graph or a table so we could express villages’ condition so we could prove the villages’ situation to potential donors. In doing this project, we were working with Camkids, an organization down there, that started to help to improve the villagers’ livelihood down at the three villages since Camkids was created. We were focusing on people’s income and expenses, health and nutrition and education. We created questions for each category. We tried our best to get rid of response bias questions as much as we can due to the wordings of our questions. We then tested them out with our school’s staffs to see if the questions make sense to them. We went down to Kampong Speu with some volunteers to help us surveying families those three villages. Each survey took us about 30 to 45 minutes and we surveyed 103 families in a day. We tried to keep our surveying technique as not bias as possible, but still, the survey was a convenient sample and there were two or three questions that were misunderstood by our volunteers. We got back to school and started to organize all the data and try many sorts of way to display our data in a precise way as possible. It took us somewhere around two weeks looking at all the questions and see which one we can eliminate and which one we can analyze. I am impressed with the works I’ve achieved in this project and I am looking forward to seeing those analyses on Camkids’ website and I am hoping to know that my data can actually attract potential donors into helping to improve villagers’ livelihood in these three villages. 

PHARE, Filming Project – Battambang

25th -31rd, March

I have to really admit this, out of all opportunities that I’ve gotten so far, this opportunity is another amazing experience I had. It was crazy at first when I was told that I was selected to be a part of this project and at that time all I knew was that I was going to be involved in a film production and that I will be working with professionals which I had no idea who they were. It was scary at first, hopping on a bus with strangers when we literally never have had a conversation together any time before that. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, but the situation started to come together when we all started talking and working together. The purpose of the project was mainly to create a music video about Phare brightness of  Art, an art school. I learned a lot out of the experience. It was a two-week long project and I was in the first week. There were lots of planning going on during the first week and I was mostly working on interviewing founders to learn more about Phare. It was not a normal interview like I learned in school; it was more like creating emotions sort of interview. I also was helping in being a director assistant in the practice shoot as well as explaining the concepts to students at the school so they could help coming up with ideas to create the music video with us. I had lots of fun working with the school as well as the Human Agency team. They were all friendly and great group of people to be working with. I really appreciate the opportunity they have given to me and I am anticipating looking forward to future project that the Human Agency is willing to offer to us in August to learn more in-depth aspects of filming.

Check out our video! 

Frisbee Competition – Malaysia

17th March 2018

Here is another amazing opportunity being offered. Every weekend on Sunday, I would be joining a frisbee training with other girls; we call our selves “Bee Force”. Through hard work and lots of training time, I got selected from our team to go to Malaysia to be in the competition, to represent our country and to represent our only girls’ team. We got lots of new players. Some of our players only got like half a year of experience, but we all tried our best to compete. Out of the six games we played, we won 1! It was a great experience to see how much all of us were pushing ourselves and we finally won our first international game! It was really inspirational for me to see how many other women play out there; they are strong! I even saw some women were playing against men! There is no specific gender for any kind of sports, anyone can be good at it as long as they try.  

Greek God – Hermes

We’ve been learning about Ancient Civilization in our Literacy class. We were focusing Greek Mythology. We researched about a Greece god, so I god Hermes. Hermes is a god messenger, but could also be known as a god of music or god of wind. I was supposed to write a character profile about my greek god, so below is a quick myth about Hermes. We also had to create suitcase symbolism to represents materials that our god would bring if they were to go anywhere.

At an age of one day old, a young baby Hermes revealed his unique personalities: curious, smart, but also a trickster. Hermes is a son of Zeus, ruler of the Olympian gods/goddesses and Maia, a daughter of Titan Atlas. This second youngest of the Olympian god was born in a course of one day on Mount Cylene in Arcadia. On the first day of his birth, Hermes sneaked out of his cradle when his nurses turned away from him. He wandered around in the field and saw a herd of cattle. He then drove them off and hid them in a cave in mountains. By the time he realized that his nurses will come to find him again, he started to head home. On the way, baby Hermes found a tortoise shell. He then connected strings to it and had created himself a tortoise lyre. He entertained himself by playing his new instrument till he got home. He then went straight back to the cradle; no one was aware about what he had done. Apollo, the owner of the cattles also known as god of music, poetry and art, was told by an old man that his cattles were stolen by baby Hermes. Apollo went straight to Maia, and told her what had happened. She was surprised and took Apollo to baby Hermes, who’s sleeping peacefully in the cradle. Apollo didn’t believe the innocent look of baby Hermes and insisted to take him to mount Olympus before Zeus or any other gods could say anything. Baby Hermes denied and could talk as fast and fluence enough that other gods who were there were amused and delighted by it. Hermes stole the cattles, but Zeus, his father still felt so proud of his son that baby Hermes could do such a thing when he’s only a day old. Hermes is intelligent, but he still need to confess what he had done and that he should also bring Apollo to where he had hidden the herd of oxens. He brought his new tortoise lyre to play on the way and Hermes was seemed to be impressed by it. Hermes gave his new instrument to Apollo, since Apollo loves musics. Apollo seemed to forgive baby Hermes by then. Apollo then gave his cattles to baby Hermes in return.