In December, Julie Huynh will achieve a statistically uncommon feat, especially in the recent era of budget cuts. She will complete an undergraduate degree in three and a half years.
Though she did not initially set out to graduate early, she realized it would be possible after she completed her general education classes.
“I thought, ‘Why not work hard now, so I can play even harder later?’” she said.
Huynh, 21, of Northridge, attended Pierce College for two years, and has been at CSUN for a year and a half.
Though she has lived in Northridge since infancy, Huynh was born in Thailand. Her mother was in the process of moving to the U.S. from Vietnam when she gave birth to Huynh.
In addition to regular semesters, Huynh also attended summer and winter sessions at CSUN.
“Summer and winter sessions were very short, but busy,” Huynh said.
While summer and winter courses are expensive, she is glad she had the opportunity to participate in them as they save a lot of time, she said.
Huynh considered biology, history and mathematics before settling on English as her major.
“English is an interesting subject that holds bits and pieces of every other subject,” she said. “Through studying my texts, I learn more about society and history than I do sitting in a sociology or history class.”
Other subjects often have a right or wrong answer, but with English there is room for interpretation, she said.
After she finishes her education, Huynh would like to remain in the world of academia as a college professor.
“I want to inspire people to look deeper than what’s on the surface to dig up the treasures that lie beneath,” she said.
Moreover, she sees the skills that come with an English degree as a tool that can be used to bridge differences between people.
“I think that a lot of hatred and misunderstanding stems from not being able to understand each other, but if everyone learns to see past what’s on the outside, then we can all get along,” she said.
Huynh has already thought about the way she wants to teach in the future.
“My classes will be less lecture and more discussion-based,” she said, adding that even if she teaches the same topic each year, “every class will have different students which makes for a number of diverse opinions.”
This summer, her enthusiasm for English was expressed in the form of a tattoo, she said.
She was reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry one day and it resonated with her, so she decided to get her second tattoo.
The excerpt that became her tattoo is from Barrett Browning’s poem “Sonnets from the Portuguese XIV” and reads, “Love me for love’s sake, that evermore thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.”
“I kinda wanted to do the whole poem but it’s really long,” she said.
Over the course of the next several months, Huynh will begin applying to creative writing MFA programs in the San Francisco area, she said. She wants to experience life in a different city because she has never been out of the Valley, she added.
For now, she is anticipating her upcoming graduation after three and a half years of hard work.
“On my graduation day I’m going to throw a party because I’m done,” she said.