After High School Series – Lima Popal Interview


Jacqueline Lemus-Govea, Assistant Editor

With the school year coming to a close, CHS junior Lima Popal has been weighing her options as her post-high-school-life approaches.

Popal is planning to attend college, in particular she expressed extreme interest in attending the Ivy League school Princeton University.

“[I like Princeton] mainly because I can’t pay for the other [schools, but] they’re need-based [in financial aid] and I worked really hard to get all my grades and stuff. And I think my grades would fit the best if I go to an Ivy League University because I work hard,” said Popal. “But the other four [schools I have in mind] are mainly state universities and that’s it.”

“[I’m planning to major in] International Affairs and Diplomacy. I think it fits best in the context of my identity because I am from Afghanistan, and I kind of have always been into international studies,” said Popal.

She also explained that she is planning on pursuing both a master’s and PhD degrees as her educational career progresses. Both of those degrees would be in International Affairs. Though Popal said she could find diplomacy jobs with only a masters degree, she thinks that having a deeper understanding of international affairs is important when people are entering those types of careers.

“If you have a masters degree in International Affairs you probably can get in, but the more qualified and the more things you know about that field, the better [chances you have] to get that position,” said Popal. “I don’t think [current diplomats are] qualified to be in those jobs because they don’t really pay attention to the big picture. They instead work in separate groups, trying to keep it together. Which is really fragmented, it doesn’t work that way and you have messed up foreign policies everywhere.”

When she is finished with her degrees, Popal hopes to work for the U.S. Department of State as a diplomat. A diplomat is a person who deals with international relations between countries, and diplomats are assigned to the countries they work in, but Popal hopes to go somewhere in Europe, though she finds this unlikely and would probably be assigned to countries in the middle east, given her background.

“I think diplomat[s are] assigned new places every once in a while. You could be in France for five years, and then you’re switched to another totally different country for another 10 or 15 years,” Popal said.

Popal noted that as a diplomat she wouldn’t only be keeping the United States’ interests in mind, but also those of other countries involved. One of the main reasons Popal chose this career path is because she thinks those who are currently in those positions aren’t working to their highest potential.

“I just think [they] need to be replaced. I think there needs to be more people who understand [certain] things because some people in the government have no empathy or sympathy for anyone,” said Popal. “And I think it would be much better if those positions were filled with people who have had similar experiences.”

Even though Popal believes she chose a “safer” career path, she thinks people should not follow the same ideology she has for herself.

“My ideology is to do something that is pretty easy, hopefully it’s easy, but I think people should challenge themselves a little more,” said Popal. “I am challenging myself by doing this because I come from Afghanistan and I’m going back, probably, if I’m assigned to the middle east, I’m going back into those issues. But I think people should generally do something that challenges them and for the better of the people.”