Long Hoang with UCLA alumnus Sean Rameswaram at “Flip the Script” event in February 2020. Photo by Hon Hoang
A public affairs student with an outgoing personality finds inner meaning amid the forced isolation of COVID-19
reporting and visual direction by Hon Hoang
photography and captions by Long Hoang
The First Public Affairs Graduates: One in a series of profiles
‘I’m just proud I got through that’
This June, Hoang is on track to be among the first undergraduate degree recipients at the Luskin School. It will be an accomplishment that didn’t always seem certain.
Before the pandemic, Hoang resolved to raise his grade point average (GPA) to a 3.5. It was an ambitious goal, especially considering his starting point.
“In spring of 2018, I was placed on Subject to Dismissal (STD). My overall cumulative GPA was a 2.3,” Hoang said. “Looking back, I can’t believe it got that low, but it is what it is.”
Then, in 2020, Hoang — along every other current college student — had to adapt to an e-learning environment, which did not make his academic aspiration any easier.
“I’ll be honest, I anticipated these classes to go easier on us. They have shown no mercy so far,” he said of the high expectations that his professors have retained despite the virtual learning circumstances.
But he has been steadfast through the hardships, and Hoang’s GPA has become a source of pride.
“Now I’m at a cumulative GPA of 3.536! I am not afraid to tell people I was on STD or that my cumulative GPA was at one point a 2.3. In a lot of ways, I’m just proud I got through that,” Hoang said.
‘Time to reflect on myself’
Although recent studies have taken place in isolation and commencement won’t be the crowded in-person event he had envisioned, Hoang’s sense of community remains intact.
“I’m just so grateful to have met the friends I have from public affairs,” Hoang said. “They’re all incredibly intelligent, hard-working and passionate. I think Luskin does a great job in helping facilitate and empower that.”
In recent months, this extrovert has had no choice but to adjust to a more introverted lifestyle.
“One silver lining I got from this is having so much time to reflect on myself,” Hoang said. “I went to a therapist and worked out my struggles with anxiety and depression.”
It was an opportunity for him to look inward, using the quiet moments amid the pandemic to reflect on things he had been neglecting. In his pursuit of a degree that focuses on helping others, Long Hoang has taken advantage of an opportunity to help himself.
“It was a time for me to finally practice the self-care that I desperately needed,” he said. “I just wish it didn’t take a pandemic for me to finally do it.”