Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Student Overcomes Obstacles, Thrives at SLCC

In 2009, at only 16 years old, Lina Nguyen was involved in a serious car accident. Her neck was broken in three different places, and she was paralyzed from the chest down. Lina’s life was changed forever.

To say the accident was devastating doesn’t even begin to tell the full story. Lina had to learn how to do everything all over again – talk, eat, even breathe. She had many moments in that first year where she didn’t think she would be able to continue. She remembers thinking, “I can’t survive this.” However, with hard work and a strong will, Lina not only survived but was able to graduate with her high school class, on time, in 2011.

Lina didn’t think college was an option for someone with her health issues. “I was lost for years,” Lina recalls. She began to build her confidence by sharing her story, as well as meeting new people who would become her friends.

Lina’s friends encouraged her to start at Salt Lake Community College, which she did in 2014. After initially struggling with taking on too much, she found a sustainable course load of two or three classes per semester. SLCC’s Disability Resource Center has helped her by providing access to note takers, testing assistants and a special voice-responsive computer. She also joined the Student Life and Leadership committee and is the club liaison.

Lina is working toward graduating with her associate’s degree. Her goal is to go to the University of Utah and major in communications with a focus on public speaking. Ultimately, she wants to be a disability advocate so she can help other people understand they can overcome immense hardships, just as she has.

“I have done more than I ever thought I could,” Lina says. “I’m grateful that I have learned to deal with the challenges in my life.”

Those interested in contributing monetary gifts to SLCC, which could be directed to the DRC, are encouraged to click here for more information.