Advice from alumni: Patch Nattamon Rawanghet
Patch Nattamon Rawanghet from Thailand graduated from EF Academy New York in 2015. During her time there, she was a part of the Storm Basketball team and co-organized the Leukemia Awareness Week. Now, she is studying and enjoying university life at Tulane University in U.S.A. Find out more about our featured alumna:
How did you hear about EF Academy and why did you choose to go to EF Academy?
I went on an exchange program in Virginia with EF High School Exchange Year and I really liked the experience. When I got the e-mail that introduced me to EF Academy, I thought, “Why not?” I had absolutely no expectations except that I wanted to spend more time in the US. I started off in Tarrytown and got to experience the move to Thornwood— they are really different but both have their pros and cons.
What university did you go to afterwards? What did you study and why?
Initially, I was planning to go to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and I had even paid the deposit after visiting for Bruins Day. However, due to my indecisiveness, I was not so sure that I actually wanted to attend UCLA so I visited Tulane University at the last minute.
Quoting my counselor, Jackie Looser:
“Sometimes it takes a trip to Cali, a cancelled trip to New Orleans, a delayed flight and finally a trip to New Orleans to discover your future! Patch Nattamon Rawanghet I am so proud of you and you are beyond ready for your next adventure! Tulane is lucky to have you!!”
I ended up attending Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, just because they provide more options to explore majors. UCLA is the better university in terms of rankings, but the choice in university should not be about which is better but rather about which fits you better as a person. You can go to the best university and still be unhappy.
When applying to college, look at the size of school and the majors and programs they offer. Check out whether your acceptance to university covers just one college or all their schools. For UCLA, my acceptance was only for the School of Liberal Art. If I wanted to attend School of Engineering in the future, I would have had to re-apply. On the other hand, Tulane acceptance covers all five schools: A.B. Freeman Business School, School of Architecture, School of Liberal Art, School of Science and Engineering and School of Public Health. I can pursue whatever I want to at Tulane with no restriction.
Like I said before, it’s all about the better fit. You are the one spending four years (or maybe five) there, you should be the one making the decision.
What do you want to do next?
I have no idea what I want to do, and I feel like there’s nothing wrong with that. I know that I will be happy with whatever I end up doing.
Tips for current students who want to study what you study?
Since I still don’t know what I want to study, I will just give broad tips:
You have to manage your time: IB is tough. It requires you to do well in class and outside of class. And if you want to go to a good college, your résumé is important as well. With a million things on your table, you need to know your priorities and manage your time well. Write out a list of what needs to get done and know how much time you need for everything on your list. This way, you will get enough sleep and have your work done in time.
Use all of the resources you have at hand: At EF Academy, you have teachers living on campus who you can always go to and ask if you have any questions. Really take advantage of the fact that there are always people around to help you out.
Know your deadlines for university applications and what each university requires: It’s important to be able to prepare these things in time. Your counselor will remind you, but they cannot be accountable for yours and everyone else’s applications. In the end, it’s your responsibility. If you want to go to art school, check the deadlines for the portfolio. It varies from school to school, so keep that in mind.
Are you keeping in-touch with your EF Academy classmates?
Absolutely! Sometimes it’s hard when we all have our own things to do and are so far away from each other. But some friendships can’t be torn apart by distance. We see each other and talk when we have time. Last summer, I went to visit Bryan in Malaysia, and Raka and Billy in Indonesia. Delfina came to visit me in Thailand. It’s so much easier to travel with a local, and EF Academy gives you that opportunity. I get to try all the local foods that I wouldn’t try if I went alone.
What’s your favorite memory from EF Academy?
Hard question… Sport Banquet? Basketball season?
I’d say one of my favorite memories is definitely Leukemia Awareness Week! Jose and I came together and organized Leukemia Awareness Week to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with the help of Emily Aquina.
We had a food-eating competition, free stickers for donation, a bake sale, and “pie faculty in the face” fundraiser. It was a lot of work making sure everything ran as smoothly as it did. So many things did not go the way we planned, but we made it work. Since the three of us could not do all the work alone, a lot of people gave us a hand and helped put up the show. The food-eating competition would not have gone as well without Larry, Emeir, Nico, and others. We ended up raising so much money, and the week was so much fun. Definitely one of my favorite memories!
What do you miss the most?
Without question, the people and memories! We all miss EF Academy, however I don’t think any of us actually want to go back and be a high school student again. But we miss making memories there and the people that we were there with. EF Academy is one of the best experiences of my life and it was really the people there that made it so special.
I also miss the entire faculty. It felt like home because they were always there, they were like our parents. You knew you could always count on them. For example, during our Leukemia Awareness Week, most faculty member showed their support by volunteering to be pied in the face.
EF Academy will always have a special place in my heart.
What is one thing that you learned from EF Academy that you found valuable for university? For your work life? For your personal life?
One thing I learned from EF Academy is that it is absolutely okay to just be you. People say “college is the four years of your life where you will find out who you truly are,” but EF Academy gave me a head start on that. No matter where you are, as long as you are you, you will end up meeting someone like yourself and maybe become friends. And the next thing you know, they never leave your side.
What tips would you give to current students?
Life is a little harder outside of high school. Don’t wish it was over, because, trust me, there will be moments when you want to go back.
Who is the most successful alum/alumna that you know of?
Andrew Setiawan: Even though I always found him procrastinating, he always finished everything in time and really well. He has his own way of doing things. He got a really high score in IB, with me constantly distracting him from studying. He is currently attending University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. #GoTrojans Andrew is absolutely the best person overall.
Who to interview next?
Definitely the one and only José Luis Pueyo Poves.
Name: Patch Nattamon Rawanghet
How many languages do you speak? Thai, English, a little bit of Spanish and Chinese
EF Academy campus: New York
Graduation year: 2015
Program: IB (Chemistry, Thai, English, Math, Spanish, Business)
Residence or host family: Residence
Favorite subject: Mathematics – I always liked mathematics and my teacher, Adam Bovone, made the subject really enjoyable.
Favorite teacher: You can’t make me pick one favorite teacher— that’s like making me choose my favorite M&M color, too hard.
Favorite club / society: Basketball – I did it for two years and we got second in the league two years in a row. Basketball taught me so many things and it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. It also allowed me to get to know a lot of people that I initially did not think that I would be friends with. Since a majority of us were new to basketball, we had a lot to learn together. The most important lesson I learned from basketball is that “you cannot win every game but you can be happy with the outcome of every game.”
Which is the next country you will visit?
Brazil! I am going there with Billy and Bryan to visit my EF Academy friend, Camila Son.
Shouts outs to:
- Paul Giordano, for teaching me that “impossible is temporary and impossible is nothing” and for being more than a basketball coach – a dad, a friend and a shoulder to cry on.
- Jackie Looser, for always having a hand for me to hold, an ear to listen to me, and a heart to understand me. (Best Counselor Award)
- Michelle Ferrera, for all the Dum-Dums and for being there when Jackie Looser was busy.
- Lauren Raia, for doing everything and everything.
- Emily Aquina, for putting up with me and everything since January.
- Sarah Weeks, for being the best mom and House Parent out there.
- Lee Ciancio, for pulling up my SATs score and, yes, I’m going to college.
- Paola Morillo, for putting up with my Spanish and always believing in me.
- Giovanni Villari, for eating lunch with me when nobody else did.
- All the faculty members that participated in the “Pie the Faculty” event. You rock!