Moody Musings: What Inspires You? with Kim Tuyen Dangova


Image: Jayla Moody

Senior Kim Dangova was born in Vietnam and moved to the Czech Republic when she was 8 years old. After Mercer, Dangova plans to pursue her masters degree in Canada.

Jayla Moody, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Everyone we come into contact with, especially in college, is dealing with something we know nothing about. Even the people in high leadership positions with smiles consistently on their face may have darker days and longer nights. We must be willing to pick ourselves up on these days and remember to hold on to our core.

I spoke with senior Kim Tuyen Dangova about what keeps her going on her hardest days and how she hopes to inspire and encourage others with her story.

“We should know that there are people we can reach out to. This is why I’m doing this,” said senior Kim Tuyen Dangova. “I’m hoping that the people who read this don’t just get inspired to be or do things like me, but people should be inspired to be vulnerable and to overcome their struggles and difficulties.”

Dangova is a Public Health major with a Business Administration minor. She was originally born in Vietnam but then immigrated to the Czech Republic with her parents when she was 8 years old.

She came to Gray, Georgia for her senior year of high school for a year abroad of exposure and experience. She volunteered with Be a Good NeighBear while in high school and the involvement of Mercer students immediately stood out to her, so she decided to stay.

“It was something I wanted to be apart of,” she said. “I wanted to make a difference.”

On campus, Dangova is a resident assistant, recognition chair of The National Residence Hall Honorary, a lab assistant in the Academic Resource Center and an office assistant in the Financial Aid Office.

She’s interned with Navicent Health and The Georgia Department of Public Health and she has served as a volunteer at The Bibb County School House Health and The Hope Center.

Her biggest piece of advice: “If you don’t overcome your struggles, you can’t do all the things that I do or other people do.”

Dangova doesn’t want to talk herself up to be someone who didn’t struggle or have hard times. She believes that it’s pointless to admire to be and do like someone else before you have dealt with your own trials, because everyone has them.

Dangova said her biggest challenge has been holding on to her core.

“Traveling changes you,” she said. “When you actually are in the position to adjust to a culture and environment, you sometimes have to change who you are but still keep the core of you.”

She said being affected by people and their culture while still trying to be yourself is draining.

“I am away from what I have known and I face many challenges that I have never dealt with before,” Dangova said. “The fact that I am here alone taught me how to be more independent and how to persevere through the challenges I’ve dealt with in my life.”

She said her growth has been a direct result of her challenges. During her freshman year at Mercer, Dangova lost her father.

“Many times, I thought to myself that I was going to quit. People see me doing many things, always smiling and working and they feel like I have my life figured out,” she said. “I have been in a spot where I have not had things figured out and I wanted to quit and go home.”

Dangova said she reached a point where she wanted to completely give up on life.  

“The biggest lesson for me here in America was to learn how to persevere, to close my eyes and to get through it,” she said.

Dangova offered some inspirational advice on how to hold onto your core when nothing seems to be going your way.

“The thought of tomorrow was how I kept my core,” she said. “Tomorrow is not promised to anybody but it is to me if I keep pushing.”

Dangova said that if there is a tomorrow for her, there’s something in tomorrow for her to do or accomplish.

“Me sharing isn’t [just] about inspiring, I just want to show people that it’s okay to be vulnerable,” she said. “I want to let people know to not give up on struggles that you may go through.”

Dangova believes it’s important for everyone to know that there are other people who are also going through things and there’s a support network if they need it.

“People like to glorify the good things and we all carry this mask that everything is okay and that everyday is the best day in the world,” she said.

Some of Dangova’s short term goals are to serve underserved areas by researching HIV/AIDS prevalence in areas such as South Africa and Asia. Her long term goal is to hopefully open clinics in rural areas of Vietnam and deliver health care there. After Mercer, Dangova is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Health in Canada.

According to Dangova, the ground underneath you may not be built, but you can be building it now.

“For some people it may take four years, for others it may be longer,” she said. “But there’s no reason to give up on building.”