Leeann Trang

Leeann Trang

Why did you come to Bowdoin?

My high school college counselor asked me what type of characteristics was looking for in a college and I told her I wanted a small, private liberal arts college, definitely on the East Coast. I wanted the school to challenge me and provide me with something beyond academics. I wanted to expand the bubble world my parents had created around me. I am so interested in meeting different people and love learning about cultures new to me. So I decided that I wanted to experience what the other side of the United States had to offer. Through some funky circumstances, I wound up visiting Bowdoin through the Bowdoin Experience Weekend. That weekend changed my life. My heart was won over by Bowdoin and everyone at home could see it all over my face, in my voice, in all my excitement. Thinking back on what I had wanted from a college, Bowdoin went beyond what I could have expected my college experience to be.

Why did you decide on your major.

At the end of sophomore year, I was at a loss because I did not find an immediate attraction to any field. I felt like perhaps I had been misguided in taking a variety of courses because now I found I had no focus.

I loved Professor Zorina Khan's enthusiasm in Economics, so I decided to declare a major in economics. After a rough semester and failing Macroeconomics, I realized that this was not what I was interested in. I continued my junior year taking an economics course, despite the failing grade in Macro. After speaking with Dean Mary Pat McMahon, I realized that the reasons I liked this particular econ course was its content (poverty) and its association with Sociology. Looking at my transcript, Dean McMahon and I noticed that I had already taken a few Sociology courses...so I switched majors! I was thankful for that guidance and the switch I made, because I have found a major where my interests and passion lie!

What's the best class you've ever taken at Bowdoin?

It would be Sociology 211, which is "The Classics of Sociological Theory."

I am currently taking this course with Professor Susan Bell. At first, I thought this class seemed very daunting and was afraid that I would not understand the concepts of the likes of Marx or Weber. However, I have found that I love reading, interpreting, analyzing and discussing with other students what these theorists were trying to say. It is all very intriguing to me that their theories can still parallel contemporary times. I love the types of classes that ask me to critically think and make me explore thoughts that had never occurred to me, or to re-evaluate my values. The best part is that I get to do it with other minds and have many opportunities to bring the dialogue to different Bowdoin arenas: to breakfast, to dinner, to forums, to other classes, to my roommates, to my peers, to my professors, to my advisors, etc. Also, Professor Bell is a wonderfully engaging professor, and without one, the text would be boring!

What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

The extracurricular activities that I have enjoyed the most are ASA (Asian Students Association), the Campus of Difference Team, and any hosting/planning/recruiting that I have done with Admissions.

Through ASA, I have worked with a diverse group of students, organized events (Karaoke night, Chinese New Year's Banquet, Iron Chef Competitions, Japanese Raku Workshop and Asian Week, the infamous ASA Fashion Show, etc). It is in ASA where I also met all my closest friends. It has helped me become a better leader and develop stronger leadership skills. ASA fulfilled my passion for creativity, providing a fun, friendly atmosphere, event planning and seeing (physically) the success of teamwork.

Through the Campus of Difference Team, I have met one of the most diverse, caring, intellectual group of people I have ever collaborated with. We got to make an early impact on the freshmen and ease them into the issues they may come across here at Bowdoin. It is rewarding to hear that these skits are honest, helpful, and eye-opening.

The final extracurricular, is not really categorized as an extracurricular, but it is the most rewarding non-academic, non-paid experience I have had here at Bowdoin. Through the hosting/planning/recruiting that I have done with Admissions, I have had the experience of SEEING the faces of students that I hosted or spoke to over the phone, HERE on the Bowdoin campus. Knowing that I played a role in that is so rewarding. It is my chance to give back to Bowdoin for giving me the opportunity to visit on the Bowdoin Experience, and the chance to have this prestigious education.

What's your best Bowdoin memory?

I have too many! Make your own!

What's your strangest or funniest experience while at Bowdoin?

Before I arrived on Bowdoin's campus in August of 2000 for Orientation, I called the Residential Life office. I told them that my high school friends headed to UC Berkeley needed XL twin sheets for their beds and was wondering if I needed them also.

I heard a pause, and then a female voice: "Who is this?"
I thought 'this is odd, why would it matter who I was?': "oh, um, I am just an incoming freshman but I just wanted to know if..."
She cut me off and said: "I know, but who is this?"
I figured there was no harm in telling her so: "Leeann?"
The voice exclaimed: "Leeann, I thought that was you! It's me Margaret Magee, your host!"
So many thoughts ran through my head! I couldn't believe that it was Margaret who had hosted me during the Bowdoin Experience!
"Wow, how did you know it was me?"
Margaret laughed and said matter-of-factly: "Leeann, I know that voice. No one else sounds like that!" I figured it was just my high-pitched voice. I told my daddy that story. He takes the credit for it and claims he gave me Chinese herbal
medicines when I was a baby and "that made my voice pretty".

What are your plans for after graduation?
I'm not sure yet. I know I don't want to go straight to grad school yet, if I ever decide to go. I am interested in a lot of things and don't want to close off any options. However, I do know what I hope to have in a job:

1. I must make some money. It doesn't need to be a lot but I don't have
the resources to survive without it!

2. I must LOVE my job. I want to have so much passion for it that I
wake up in the morning, WANTING to go to work.

3. I must help people. My parents have sacrificed so much and many other people have given me so much that I want to give back and show them my appreciation and my gratitude by providing the inspiration, guidance, and resources that I was given to someone else. Here is a quote by Ernest Fitzgerald that explains what I mean: "It is not by accident that the happiest people are those who make a conscious effort to live useful lives. Their happiness, of course, is not a shallow exhilaration where life is one continuous intoxicating party. Rather, their happiness is a deep sense of inner peace that comes when they believe their lives have meaning and that they are making a difference of good in the world."

Job fields I am currently interested in: Teach for America, Non-Profit organizations working to create young leaders and/or working with social issues, Public Relations, Event Planning, Marketing, and Advertising.

Is there anything else about Bowdoin or your experiences here that you would want prospective students to know?

Bowdoin has changed my life. It wasn't the easiest decision to make to come here, but it was well worth all the sacrifices I have made. More than worth it. I'm so grateful for a lot of things Bowdoin has provided me with, but the thing I am most thankful more are the people here: the deans, the professors, the staff, and all the friends I have made here. Without them, there would not have been my Bowdoin Experience. Bowdoin people are INCREDIBLE. When things are rough and you can't make it on your own, people are there to get your back.

Story posted on October 10, 2003

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