Sunday, January 23, 2011

ILC Yalie and Northwestern Freshman

Yes, I am finally back in California for the first time in three months! Being in my room and in my home with my family is very relaxing. The last two months since I last wrote to you have been hectic—in terms of weather and academics.

Temperatures fluctuated wildly, from mid 60s to low teens. This weather is probably the most different and difficult aspect of life that I’ve had to adjust to; I’ve lived in weather that rarely drops below high 30s my entire life. During reading week (I think) I experienced my first snowfall. A few inches of snow accumulated that night, and I left the library very late so I was able to run around in fresh snow with my friends. It was definitely a thrilling experience.

I already described my classes for the quarter in my previous e-mail, so I suppose I’ll write about finals now.

Spanish was actually pretty tough. I had classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For four class periods in a row, I had four things to take care of: (1) a listening comprehension exam on a soap opera we’d been watching (2) an oral project that involved research on different Spanish cultures (3) an in-class composition, and (4) a final exam. These took place the week before and the week of Thanksgiving break. Lots of studying and lots of time at the library! After Thanksgiving break, however, I had no more Spanish classes for the quarter (2 weeks), so I feel that time was paid off.

For my Future of Gender freshman seminar class, I was required to write a 10-page research paper on the future of gender in the workplace. This was definitely tough for me because I’d never written something this long in high school (I can’t remember, at least). Additionally, the prompt was very broad (the future of gender in the workplace), and I had a tough time with that as well. This, again, required lots of time at the library. Thankfully, the library never closes during finals week.

My last class, social inequality, was the only class that actually required me to be there during the allotted two-hour final period. The first part of the final was a 3-4 page essay on the challenges and complexities pertaining to economic survival that the working poor face. The second part of a final had five short-answer questions, each requiring ~100 word answers. The last was a 20-question multiple choice test. This class was my favorite class, but it still required, as I’ve said twice before, lots of studying and lots of library time!!

Overall, finals week was relatively tough and sleepless, but I’m sure that’s what all college students say.

Next quarter I will be taking four classes: Evolution and the Scientific Method, Spanish, Ethics and the Environment, and Psychology and Weird Beliefs. I’m fulfilling my distribution requirements right now because I still have no clue about what career I want to pursue. Hopefully these distros will help me decide.

I’ve definitely feel homesick at times. I’ve missed my mother’s cooking (although the dining hall food here is amazing), my family, and my desk full of high school’s memories… but college is a chance for new and better memories to form and I’ve definitely been taking advantage of that opportunity.

What helps me from feeling homesick is Northwestern’s surprising resemblance to the bay area—excluding the weather. There’s a huge body of water located near by (Lake Michigan) and it’s only a short walk away from my room, and there’s also a huge city nearby (Chicago). This reminds me of home and San Francisco—and whenever I feel homesick, I think of these similarities and feel calmed.

On a non-academic note, Northwestern is so much fun! There’s always free food somewhere. And I love food.

A few weeks ago, I visited Millennium Park in Chicago, where Dr. Oz made an appearance. I don’t really know who he is (I know he has a TV show), but he’s famous! That’s one awesome thing about Chicago: famous people. I’m sure celebrities are everywhere, but Chicago is just one of those big, well-known cities.

That pretty much covers my last few months! Have you picked out the next batch of Yalies yet? Oh, and don’t forget to encourage students to apply to Northwestern because it’s awesome!

Stephanie Ny
ILC Yalie 2009

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