Dr. Thach Nguyen said these words during a discussion with high school seniors from Tan Tao Talented High School (TTS) on October 11.
Though having a full schedule doing medical research and cooperation with American and Singaporean professors, Prof. Thach Nguyen still found time for a discussion with all of the high school seniors and TTS. The simple reason for his prioritization was to “do whatever is good and helpful for TTU students”. The 12th graders are entering the most important year of their school life. It is the time that each student has to make a choice about profession, career and jobs to pursue in the future. Any advice and encouragement for students at this time has a significant impact. Therefore, right from the beginning of the discussion, Prof. Thach Nguyen encouraged the students to speak their mind so that teachers can give them the best advice.
After a short time, students grew excited to share their own plans. Most of the students wanted to pursue the study of business, economics, engineering, or general medicine. Prof. Thach Nguyen encouraged students to pursue their dreams with all their passion and enthusiasm. “If you do not do something with love and passion, you will quickly realize that you are not interested in what you are doing.” The professor emphasized the way to maintain a passion for work is to constantly do research and explore to find new things that no one had ever thought before. The professor took an example from his own medical research writing. Two of his five published books are bestsellers in the field of interventional cardiology in the United States and have been reprinted four times. “Reprints are not the same book as the first book,” said Prof. Thach Nguyen. “Nobody spends more than $100 to buy a book with the same content. Although it is reprinted, there are some new things or unprecedented discoveries in each publication. If you reproduce something old, no matter how valuable it is, it will eventually become obsolete. Innovation and creativity are the key to making America as powerful as it is today,” he concluded.
Responding to a student’s concern whether his choice of profession was right or wrong, Prof. Thach Nguyen suggested he ask his relatives and people with insight in his specific field of interest. He also advised the student to ask his teachers to prepare him for a job. “More importantly, you need to feel passionate about your own choice and have the courage to pursue it. We can be wrong, but at the same time, we can draw a lot of valuable developmental lessons. “
Talking to shy students, Prof. Thach Nguyen constantly motivated and encouraged students to show their confidence. “Speak with enthusiasm and passion and it will attract listeners. We will not achieve any results if our speech is not convincing enough.”
The discussion was fun and the atmosphere relaxed. And of course, it was conducted in English. From time to time, the renowned professor used Vietnamese words to explain important definitions to help all students understand. Tran Thanh Binh, a senior studying English, has the dream of starting a business. “I wonder if such dream at my age is too risky and illusory”, he asked. “Nothing is too soon or too late to do what we dream of doing. Follow your plan wisely.” The professor continued: “It is necessary to split the goal into smaller mini goals to achieve it. You will find your big dream come true.”
“When being asked for the reason to study medicine, most of students say it has been a dream since childhood, or since their parents are doctors, or due to the loss of loved ones, they want to become doctors to save lives. Not all of them will become good doctors,” he said. “Some students will even drop out, but they will succeed in their new goals. You have the right to change your dreams or interests. It is not necessary to pursue a thing that is no longer a passion or is no longer suitable for you.”
Through this story, Prof. Thach encouraged TTS students to change their mind and daringly choose new things. “Liberal arts education is new in Vietnam, but it is very common in the U.S. It is the path to success for many famous politicians and CEOs in the world. The majority of students in the liberal arts schools have obtained stable jobs and have been rewarded with job promotions.” Prof. Thach Nguyen expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the vision and dedication of Madame Dang Thi Hoang Yen, founder of TTU and TTS, for her determination to develop TTU after American liberal arts education. “Madame President has chosen for you the path of success of renowned leaders and entrepreneurs in the world. You have to embrace it and make it a chance to change your life.” He affirmed: “I will do my best together with President Dang Thi Hoang Yen to develop TTU after American Liberal Arts Education. How? It is through bringing students to do internships in the U.S. and encouraging students to do scientific research. All students have to communicate in English to study and work in an international environment.”
Prof. Thach Nguyen ended the discussion with a promise: “All newly admitted students in all five schools will have the opportunity to do internships in the U.S. and in developed countries in 2018. You choose TTU and the future is yours.” All students in the auditorium showed deep thanks to the professor with unceasing applause. “I will be a new TTU student in 2018,” said a TTS student who had recently competed in an English contest.