Milking the Cancer Card: Turning Pain into Opportunity, by Minnow Nguyen

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

Should you use your cancer diagnosis to your advantage? Cancer survivor and Physician Assistant, Minnow Nguyen thinks so (and I happen to agree with her). Here's her story:

I was diagnosed with leukemia at age 16. Prior to that i was a pretty good honor student in high school with a close to 4.0 GPA. I missed half of my Junior year in High School and had to learn at home and take many make up tests. I was mostly upset that I couldn't be with my friends daily, couldn't participate in sports or clubs, basically be a normal teenager.

After 6 months of chemo, I was back to school with a bald head. Junior year is when kids start applying to colleges. With my grades and extracurricular activities I was pretty competitive to begin with. As a cancer survivor, I TOTALLY believe in milking the cancer card. Why the fuck not?! as long as i'm not trampling over anyone else - I should be able to play the cancer card to my heart's content! So of course, my college admission essay was about surviving leukemia.

I got into all of the colleges I applied for: UCLA, Berkeley, UCSB, UCI, UCSD. After hearing the news, one girl in my class said those exact words "I wish I had cancer too!". She wasn't an AP/Honors student, she wasn't the worst student either and I was horrified to hear her say that at all. I know as teenagers we say a lot of dumb things without thinking, but it really struck a nerve. If I had the chance to get into college without having to go through cancer.... trust me, i would have.