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Laggui’s 8,000-mile journey teaches her: “It’s not that deep”


The portion sizes were what surprised sophomore Ava Laggui most when she first moved to the U.S from the Philippines.

“When I first went to a gas station, there weren’t any small cups,” Laggui said. “America was so surreal to me.”

Laggui moved with her family two months ago, and it’s always been her dream to study in America.

“My parents have always taught me that if I have an opportunity, I should seize it,” Laggui said. 

Her family has always encouraged trying new things. 

“I’ve been wanting to branch out, because if you grow up with the same people, and the same school for 14 years, it gets really tiring,” Laggui said. 

According to Laggui, she was able to find friends at the school because she has “taken action to put [herself] out there.”

“My parents have always taught me that if I have an opportunity, I should seize it”

“[Moving] helped me learn how to not be afraid of talking to people and just dealing with others in general,” Laggui said. 

“My favorite quality about Ava is how she really listens and puts in her own personal decisions she made in her own life,” Laggui’s friend, Max Crandall, said. “I trust her with a lot, because of how open and honest she is.”

Laggui said her transformation into a social person began when she earned a spot on the varsity volleyball team at her old school. According to Laggui, despite team spirit being one of her weakest traits, she was drawn to the sport. 

She became captain of the team, which she said has taught her to uplift friends and team members, which has been a vital lesson for her move to the U.S.

“Volleyball is such a co-dependent sport, you need other people,” Laggui said. 

In America, Laggui has taken up a form of martial arts called Filipino Kali. According to Laggui, she has always been interested in martial arts because it is a practical skill as well as an athletic hobby. Laggui also said Kali helps her to stay connected to her roots. 

Laggui plays Ultimate Frisbee. Photo courtesy of Laggui

“Coming to this new school, and having this new life, I still need something to keep me active, just to keep my mind off of things and exert my frustration,” Laggui said. 

According to Laggui, moving to the U.S has made her realize that she doesn’t care about “leaving a legacy,” her main priority in life is being happy. 

“I care not about the kind of name I’ll leave behind, but more of what I’m already doing in the present,” Laggui said. 

Laggui’s dad has played an important role in teaching her to “not waste [her] opportunities.” His storytelling of his childhood has inspired her to make her life’s motto: “it’s not that deep.”

“I can have an adventure too, and I just want to enjoy my life and have fun at the same time as I improve,” Laggui said. 

“[Moving] helped me learn how to not be afraid of talking to people and just dealing with others in general”

In the future, Laggui hopes to become an E.R. nurse. She says her dream has always been to help people in need. 

“It was always something along the lines of firefighter, a policeman, a veterinarian…” Laggui said, “I want to be someone… who, during extremely stressful times, is the person who helps others.”

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