‘You Only Have One Life!’ Says Business Major Quynh Pham

Quynh Pham was born and raised in Vietnam. She moved to the US just 14 years ago.

“When I came here,” she recalls, “it was very hard for me to learn English. I was very nervous to talk to people. I’m scared I’ll pronounce things wrong. And, in Vietnam, we learned British English, and sometimes the words are different.”

She took some ESL courses at another school before going on to beauty college, and becoming an esthetician. Two years ago, she opened Sparrow Spa, her very own small business.

Growing that business is very important to Quynh. Her husband passed away when her son was very young. Providing for him is her highest priority.

“My friend told me,” she explains, “that CCC is a very good school with a lot of very good teachers: ‘If you want to do good business, you need to take business classes at CCC. Contra Costa is very good for business management.’”

So, Quynh visited a CCC counselor, who helped her decide which business and ESL courses to take. And, she applied for financial aid, which helped her pay for school. Soon, she was a business student!

She wasn’t sure about going back to college at first. “I’m about twenty years out of school,” she says. “But, I still learned, and it got better and better for me.”

Now, Quynh loves being a student at CCC.

She’s only taken five courses, but already feels like she’s learned a lot.

“I’ve learned how to do accounting, and how to manage my business. I learned more about computers, business communication, advertising.”

She’s been putting those new skills to work,  and is already starting to see results.

Quynh plans to increase her course load and be more active on campus next semester. She hopes to finish her associate degree quickly, then take some time to grow her business before transferring to a four-year university.

“After that, I want to create a foundation for people who look like me: single moms with kids.”

“You only have one life,” she says. “You need to do the best, not feel sorry for yourself later. Just never give up. Do what you want to do, and later, your dream will come true.”