Nhukha Nguyen, '21

Nhukha Nguyen, '21

Sophomore Nhukha Nguyen, a Kansas City native, came to Rockhurst in hopes of continuing her level of involvement from high school and finding ways she could be a leader on campus. Read more about her experience being a resident assistant below:

Q: What was your college search process like?

A: In high school, I wanted to go to school out of state and then my parents were all of a sudden like, ‘hold up, no, you can’t be in far proximity from us’. Basically, it came down to either going to the University of Missouri in Columbia because my grandma lives there, UMKC or Rockhurst. I boiled it down to class sizes, school size and what I wanted. I chose Rockhurst because of the class size and the student-to-teacher ratio. When I came on campus I really felt welcomed. I guess it’s kind of hard for me because I’m the first-born in my family. It’s always been myself and my younger sister. I’ve been the one to test the water and get my feet wet and then tell my sister and mom and dad how things are. My mom and dad immigrated from Vietnam here, and they always say their college experience was so much different than how it is now.

Q: What led you to your major?

A: I really want to be a dentist. That’s my end goal. When I first started school I was in between biology or chemistry. After taking some classes and talking to my professors, I mapped out what path I wanted to take. I really wanted to choose biochemistry because you get a mix of both, and I really thought that it was going to be a challenge for me and I like challenging myself.

Q: What are you involved with on campus?

A: I’m in quite a lot. I’m an RA in McGee. I’m also in pre-dental club. I’m in Greek life. I’m an ambassador. I’m in student senate and I’m in the honors program.”

Q: Were you pretty involved in high school too?

A: Yeah, I definitely was and I always like to keep myself busy. I don’t like having very much down time. Freshman year of college was when I stepped in and got involved in greek life and senate. Then, from there that carried on into this year.

Q: Did you really want to be involved in college?

A: I was never really nervous about it. I feel like I was more determined. I had a few close friends that went here too, and they always advised me that it’s not hard to get involved. Everyone’s always so friendly, and there’s always something that could pertain to your interests. During orientation, they encourage you to sign up for clubs and try things, so that’s what motivated me.

Q: How do you think you’ve gained leadership skills while at RU?

A: In high school, I had a leadership position. I was captain of the swim team. That pushed me, but I feel like coming to Rockhurst pushed me even more. I feel like in this community people really look up to you.

Q: Why did you want to become a resident assistant?

A: It boiled down to my RA my freshman year. When I would talk to her, she spoke so highly of it. Two of my sorority sisters were RAs and they spoke so much about it too. I just wanted to give it a try. I like making connections with other people, and I feel like I would handle the responsibility pretty well. I applied and interviewed, and I want to say like a couple weeks after I got the email that I got accepted and I was so thrilled.

Q: It definitely seems like a big responsibility.

A: Yeah, and the past RAs told me how much they grew too, and how much they matured. I wanted to push myself and challenge myself and I wanted to have a job during school where I could see myself grow and feel more independent.

Q: How do you think you’ve grown so far in this position?

A: Time is very delicate. I’ve always taken advantage of my down time. Now, being an RA, I have to go by a schedule. I’ve come to realize that people depend on me even when I don’t expect it, especially when I’m on duty. Last night, I had a few residents that needed my help to figure things out. It’s taught me that I have to think quick on my feet and can’t really ponder around at all. It made me realize that I’m setting an example and I have to think about my actions and their consequences.

Q: What is the most challenging part of being an RA?

A: I’d say definitely balancing that job with other things I’ve been involved with on campus has been pretty hard. Another hard part is living separated from my friends. All of my friends live in either XL or the THVs. This class is very mature and so it’s easy for me to relate and become friends with them. It’s difficult though, because I have to keep in mind that I can’t be best friends with them because there has to be a barrier between friend and RA. That’s why it’s sometimes kind of hard because I have to wear this hat.

Q: What is your favorite part of being an RA?

A: Definitely meeting the residents. I feel like I’ve never been an arts and crafts person, so doing the door decorations and bulletin boards has definitely pushed me to think outside the box. I would say building relationships with my staff is really nice. You always want to be there for them if anything happens. It’s a really close connection. I honestly feel like it’s a family.