Fortune favours the fish that swim upstream

Posted: Thu, 4th October 2018 | Written by: Hue Man Dang

My motto in life is: In clear and in murky waters, fortune favours the fish that swim upstream.

Fortune favours the fish that swim upstream

When I was eight, I tried to imagine what my life would be like. Do you know what I saw? Nothing. Statistically I should not be here. When I first arrived to Australia, my family and I lived with my uncle because we could not afford to live. He didn’t like me to the extent that one day when I went to grab a tissue he shouted at me to taking two at the same time. When we moved out into housing commission, we were so desperately poor and every day since then has been an uphill battle.

You cannot choose the cards that life deals you but you can work to give yourself the best outcome. Today I’m so privileged to live the life that I live. I'm currently studying a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University and I am a non-resident at Ormond College. Over the last few years I've won scholarships to travel back to Vietnam to work with disadvantaged children suffering from the effects of Agent Orange and I've travelled to the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory. On top of that I've received the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Scholarship to launch my not-for-profit.

My life now is dedicated to giving back. I'm the Chair of the Communities that Care Board in Hobsons Bay and I'm a really keen advocate for better community support for young people. I'm also currently working on my not-for-profit, Brain Nation Hub to create free study materials. I'm also working with Hobsons Bay City Council and the Hobsons Bay Community Grant Fund to host work ready workshops around resume and cover letters in the next school holidays for students aged 15 - 25. On the side my major project right now at Ormond College is as the Editor in Chief of Ormond Papers, the yearly publication. I've worked hard to make include a piece of advocacy around mental health.

There are times when I'm not entirely sure of what I'm doing but all I know is that as long as I put one foot in front of the next, eventually I'll get to where I want to be. I'm in the process of creating more material for Brain Nation, and working to align it with the Australian Curriculum and create a model that can be implemented anywhere in Australia so that we can reach the disadvantaged young people within our communities. I'm also hoping to bring my free workshops into more councils across the Western Metropolitan Area.

In terms of study, which sometimes feels like the thing I do on the side, I'm hoping to study a Masters in Public Health. Or was it International Relations? Perhaps Medicine? These days I'm not entirely sure because there are so many doors that are open! It’s not surprising that I have Western Chances to thank. Looking back there are many points that would not been possible without the organisation that kicked started my life by saying, "we believe in you and your potential", even when I couldn't hear that voice myself. Growing up poor is the most expensive thing for an individual because it affects your self-esteem, it reminds you that you don't deserve success and are not worthy of good things. Western Chances’ monetary support means a lot but it is that emotional and psychological impact that comes from being heard and supported that has meant so much to my future.

My story may not have such a happy beginning but it is I who I choose to be that determines how the rest of the story is written and I couldn't have done it without that chance to achieve my full potential.

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