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Mai Nguyen: Practicing Patience

Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
                                                                                                                                  Oxford Dictionary
Adjectives like grit and persistence come to mind when describing Mai Nguyen, a shy senior at Cristo Rey Boston. But he rejects those descriptors, instead describing himself as having patience. A soft-spoken student, it is clear it is not easy for him to share his journey. 

Mai’s route to Cristo Rey Boston begins in Vietnam, where he was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Choosing hope, his parents decide to come to Boston to seek medical treatment in the United States. 

While undergoing treatment, he began his educational journey at Cristo Rey Boston. It was the Fall of 2020, and classes were remote. Mai did not speak English well, so he recalls, “I would go online and try hard to understand everything happening at school. But it was challenging, and my grades were terrible. Working remotely to master the material and complete my assignments sometimes felt impossible.” 

He reflects, “I tapped into my Buddhist beliefs and sought patience. I always held tight to the concept that if I were patient and accepting, everything would eventually work out for me in terms of my health and education.” 

In 10th grade, with classrooms back open, things began to shift. Mai remembers, “Being able to interact directly with teachers changed everything. I received a lot of help from my teachers, help with both the material and my English grammar, and slowly, my grades began to improve. I began to see my patience pay off.”

Mai reflects fondly on his time at Cristo Rey. Deeply appreciative of the teaching and administrative staff, he described them as always committed to helping him succeed. Additionally, his love of art has become a relaxing outlet in times of stress, and he looks forward to Art classes. Most of all, he loves Mass and Theology class. He commented, “I love the contemplative aspect of Theology and Mass. They give me space to reflect on everything I have been through and give gratitude for the community I have found here at Cristo Rey Boston and in the local Vietnamese community. 

Now a member of the National Honor Society, which reflects his dedication to his grades and school community, Mai has college on his mind. His favorite subjects are Algebra and Chemistry, and he intends to study Engineering and Computer Science in college. He notes, “Computer Science is like math. I love to analyze a problem and solve it.”  Having worked with Ms. Lipide in the Corporate Work Study office as his work-study placement, he has built proficiency with Salesforce and Excel. He is excited to attend college to develop his skills.

Although anxious about college, Mai is confident he can handle future challenges. With his health stable and a solid academic foundation, Mai states, “My health journey has taught me acceptance and refined my ability to practice patience. I realize I can overcome any challenge if I stay patient and keep my faith.”