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Rin Takes the Less Traditional Path

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Monica Rin ’14, San Jose, California, isn’t afraid of a challenge. The senior transfer student may have just completed her first semester at Morris, but she already has a wealth of experiences under her belt. And with graduation quickly approaching, it looks like Rin won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Rin’s journey to Morris was far from traditional. After growing up in a Cambodian refugee camp, she moved to California at the age of 14 and raised her two younger sisters. As a primary caregiver, student, and newcomer, Rin had an enormous amount of responsibility for herself and for her family.

“Because we didn’t know English, I had to put in four times the effort just to catch up with my academics,” she says. “I didn’t know how to grow up in this new culture, so having to do that while raising my sisters and doing well in school was hard.”

Prior to coming to Morris, Rin completed community-college coursework and an internship at NASA’s Ames Research Center. In 2010 she returned to Cambodia and spent three years taking classes, teaching English, and volunteering in the community. Rin even started the Sokdon Education School, which she calls “one of the most rewarding experiences” from her time abroad.

During this time she also spent six months researching colleges. Focused on schools with quality academics, Rin ultimately selected Morris for what it had to offer in and out of the classroom.

“I was looking for something different—people, culture,” she says. “At the time I began doing research I was more focused on academics, but as I continued I learned Morris was a small campus, which is what I wanted.”

Rin has done well at Morris and even admits that she “doesn’t want to leave.” Her plans for the future, however, are no less ambitious than one might expect. Having faced challenges and succeeded from an early age, Rin believes in taking risks, no matter how frightening they may seem.

“It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone. It’s something that’s really valuable, and once you do it, you learn so much from it.”

Rin will graduate in May with a degree in management. She intends to return to Cambodia, where she has a job waiting for her with Tokyo Taxi Transportation Company. Rin also will study for the graduate management admission test before applying to a masters of business administration program focused on finance or human resources.