Amy Nguyen’s parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in the early 1990s, escaping the communist regime for a better life in America. However, it did not start off easy.
“They basically came here with two bare hands,” Nguyen says. “They worked really hard for me to get to where I am now.”
She attended St. Cecilia Academy, a highly regarded all-female private high school in Nashville, and college was always her plan.
“My parents made a lot of sacrifices for me,” Nguyen says. “Their No. 1 reason for working hard was to see me in an environment that pushed me toward academics. So, going to college was always something that felt very normal for the environment I was in.”
Nguyen says her parents are protective and were unsure about her going so far from home. While on a visit to Baylor’s campus with her parents, she ventured off with Baylor student Claire Hartnett—unbeknownst to her parents.
“They got very nervous and called the Baylor police, and they responded quickly, which I think was a good thing,” Nguyen says. “That’s when my dad realized it was a great campus.”
Where Nguyen wandered that day—it was Good Friday—was to one of Baylor’s chapels. She wanted to spend some time in prayer about her college choice as Baylor was one of a handful of Texas schools she was visiting on the trip.
“I wasn’t sure if this was the right place for me or not,” says Nguyen, who grew up planning to attend nearby Vanderbilt University. “But in that moment, in spending time with Jesus, I felt this was where I needed to be. It might not be where I had planned for myself, but it was where Jesus planned for me.”
Nguyen admits her first year was not easy, calling college a different environment.
“I’ve come across some setbacks, but that’s no reason to quit,” she says. “Having Mito [Diaz-Espinoza] as one of my mentors has been helpful.”
Nguyen knew no one at Baylor upon arrival other than the handful of students she met during her visit, and she was randomly matched with her roommate. Because of this, Nguyen believes the camaraderie she found through First in Line was vital.
“Knowing that you’re not the only first-generation student here, that you’re not going through this alone, that is very beneficial,” she says. “I always let my professors know that I’m a first-generation student. Before First in Line, I thought it was a negative thing. But now I own up to it because I’m bucking the trend.”
Nguyen works in a pharmacy when home in Nashville and has received early admission acceptance to the pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she will attend after Baylor.