Episode 12 – GIGI CHANGCHAROENKIJ, UC BERKELEY – IT WAS STILL SHOCKING TO ME HOW DIFFERENT IT WAS
Gigi Changcharoenkij’s most important lesson in college was learning to ask for what she needs to succeed. Currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley, Gigi is majoring in Economics and Psychology, complemented by her interests in communications, finance and student government.
Gigi attended the Thai-Chinese International School in Bangkok, which she characterized as a small, warm, and encouraging community. At TCIS, Gigi was actively involved in extra-curricular activities, including the band and theatre club in addition to acting as class president. Its strong Chinese programs also allowed her to be fluently trilingual, switching between Thai, English and Mandarin language as necessary.
Understandably, the transition to college was jarring. From a graduating class of 60 people to class sizes in the thousands, Berkeley felt big, sometimes too big. Professors seemed too distant to be approached, and office hours too crowded. But after her friend dragged her to office hours, Gigi learned to ask for help, and found that it was readily available. Michael says it’s true preparation for the real world.
There’s a certain pressure at college to seem unshakably self-assured, yet Gigi honestly admits she’s still mulling over her future plans. Her experience taking intriguing classes such as, “Drugs and the Brain”, or working at the ASUC Student Government have widened her perspective of what she can be. College life has never been better.