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SHE-CAN Scholars at the University of Portland

SHE-CAN Scholars at the University of Portland

SHE-CAN sisters Rosie Ith, Sahas Sok, and Mey Srou love living and studying together at the University of Portland
Rosie Ith: One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to be more reflective and express my gratitude toward the good things that happen in my life. So for this blog, I want to express my gratitude to UP and the community I found here. During Covid-19, while social distancing is the new norm, people often feel more isolated than ever. However, I have had the privilege of becoming closer to my SHE-CAN sisters, Sahas and Mey, thanks to the people at ResLife who made it possible for us to have our own apartment by accommodating our move-in dates. 

Last semester, I was taking classes from Cambodia. This was not easy as I had to wake up as early as 4:30AM for class. Despite my commitment to doing well in school, online learning was challenging and I was struggling physically and emotionally at first.  However, my professors and many people in the UP community made me feel more confident in myself by continuously comforting me and supporting me through my “online, distance and a continent away” learning by adjusting their schedules with mine. My Economics professor agreed to host his office hours at 7pm every week so that I could get my questions answered. At the end of the semester, he assured me that my hard work paid off with an email saying “You earned the highest grade in ECN 429 – Development Economics. And you did so while taking the class in a second language, mostly asynchronously, with a 14-hour time difference…Awesome job!” Because of all these supports and accommodations, I am able to develop myself as a strong, confident leader and future change maker. And for that, I am very grateful!
​Mey Srou: Starting college during a global pandemic was a big transition for me. Time flew, fall semester ended, and I successfully navigated my first semester at UP with pride. However, I want to express my great gratitude to the UP community and my SHE-CAN big sisters Rosie and Sahas for giving me such sympathetic support. I encountered many memorable challenges last semester. For instance, I 
had a limited awareness of on-campus resources and whom to reach out to ask for help. Fortunately, I joined the FGEN mentorship program, which is a program that matches a first-generation college student with a mentor to guide them through the first semester at UP. Rosie is my FGEN mentor, and she helped me improve my knowledge of on-campus resources, from where to get food to how to apply for a job. It was such a great place for a first-year student to find a supportive community. 

In addition to the UP community’s support, my SHE-CAN sisters also played an important part in helping to make my first year living and learning experiences memorable. I could reach out to them for both academic and emotional concerns, and I am so grateful that they are here for me. Last semester I was struggling in balancing my learning schedule with a large amount of homework, and I barely finished my assigned tasks although I spent many hours studying. I finally reached out to my SHE-CAN sister, Sahas Sok, for some advice, and she suggested I read How to Become a Straight-A Student, a book about how to get things done and do well in college. After reading some parts of the book, I figured out the root cause of my problem and I was able to fix it on time.  And for all the support I received, I am grateful for everyone who helped me through my first semester in the U.S.

Sahas Sok: Just like Rosie and Mey, my gratitude for UP is more than I can write in words. While people like to complain about how miserable their lives are, I reflect a lot on how wonderful my life is even during the pandemic. While walking to the Dollar Tree to buy kitchen utilities for our apartment, Rosie, Mey, and I were laughing so hard on just random topics, and we took a moment to reflect on our happiness and how the three of us bonded so quickly.
Time flies and things move really fast, but when I take a moment to absorb what has been happening in my life, there are just so many good things to be thankful for. I am thankful for the opportunity to go back home during break to recharge myself and reunite with my family. I am thankful that when returning to school this Spring semester, I have an incredible apartment to live in. I am thankful that I live in this apartment with my SHE-CAN sisters, my fellow Cambodians, Rosie and Mey, and we can’t wait to welcome Sokvy next year. What else can I ask for? There is nothing too small to be grateful for. There are many people before me that worked to make this happen and I will do my part to make life easier for others to follow me.