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Graduate Spotlight - Pa Kou Vang
Pa Kou Vang
Cosmetology, December 2016
"My instructors wanted me to succeed…. They reminded me to keep going, to have faith that if I can't do something today, I will be able to tomorrow."
When Pa Kou Vang first announced to her parents that she wanted to go back to school, they wondered why. It had been over five years since she had enrolled—and dropped out of—the Business Management program at Mid-State. They weren't expecting her to find her second wind.
With four young children and a job working in assisted living, Pa Kou had plenty to keep her busy and could have just stayed the course. But she knew there was more out there for her, that something was missing—namely a passion for her career. “Back in 2010 I chose Business Management because I’m a people person, and it seemed like it would open up a lot of opportunities for me, but I just didn’t click with it,” she says. “With three kids at home, it was hard to stay focused on my studies."
Pa Kou's children would be her motivation for coming back a second time. "As my kids got older and excelled in school, I saw their potential and their sense of high expectations for themselves," she says. "It was then that I realized it was not too late for me to have a career that I’m passionate about, and I knew that I needed to do it if I wanted to keep up with them!"
Pa Kou's mom soon saw how excited her daughter was about Cosmetology and making a better future for herself and told her to go for it. But the program was by no means a breeze. Pa Kou explains, "I felt pretty knowledgeable about beauty when I started the Cosmetology program at Mid-State, but it was humbling how much I had to learn." In the end it was Pa Kou’s three Cosmetology instructors who gave her the motivation to keep going in the fast-paced world of cosmetology school. "My instructors wanted me to succeed," she says. "They reminded me to keep going, to have faith that if I can't do something today, I will be able to tomorrow."
After graduating with honors this December, Pa Kou's plans include working in a salon initially, but she is already looking beyond and thinking about expanding her learning again. "I have this strong desire to learn about flower arranging, even though I’m not sure right now how it will fit in," she says. "I started in Cosmetology just wanting to grow with my kids, but along the way I discovered a love of learning, my passion for creating beauty, and a world of possibilities."