Monthly Archives: November 2012

Scholar Check-in: Julie Kwong

Princeton University, Freshman

After the week long fall break, I came back to Princeton and the ball started rolling again. I continued to work on the essay I started before break and started some research in the university archive library for a paper about after-the-fact opposition to coeducation at Princeton in the early 1970s. It is so amazing that we have access to the university’s primary artifacts from its history!

This week has been relatively manageable in terms of school work; however, the spring course offerings are now released! While this is very exciting, it is difficult to choose courses that will create a reasonable schedule and the question always seems to be whether or not I am choosing the right classes and really taking advantage of the “exploration” process. Currently, though, I am considering taking an introductory Computer Science course, Psychology, and American Studies. Luckily, before anything becomes official, I have a meeting scheduled with my academic adviser next week to discuss my schedule and plans.

On another note, it snowed on campus last week! There was a good 3-4 inches, enough for people to have snowball fights, make snow angels, and even create life-size snowmen! The campus looked beautiful; it was definitely an exciting time for everyone as it was the first snow of the year!

I have gradually gotten closer to the members in my CSA family and have even begun to talk to my classmates outside of class. I agree this is a slow process, but I am happy my friend circle is expanding. Additionally, I applied to become a tutor at a community tutoring company. The manager verified that I was qualified to be a member of their team, so as of now, I am waiting for them to process my paperwork and match me with a client. I can’t wait! Again, I feel so grateful to be going to this school; yesterday, I went to see “The Lion King” on Broadway, which turned out to be a spectacular show as we got superb seats near the stage! There is such a great balance between academic and social life. We have a lot of work to do, but we have many opportunities to relax as well. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family, friends, teachers, CDI counselors, and the Princeton community for allowing me the chance to learn at such a fantastic institution in all respects.

Scholar Check-in: Julie Kwong

Julie and her friends at Princeton.

Princeton University, freshman

Since my last weekly check-in, I have been preparing myself for the mid-terms which took place on October 26. I had mid-terms in both Spanish and Introduction to Architectural Thinking on that day. While I should have started studying for it earlier, I dedicated an adequate amount of time for each class 2-3 nights before to prepare study guides for myself leading up to the exam. Luckily, my Introduction to Architectural Thinking exam was open note, and on the day of the exam, I felt confident because I had prepared a comprehensive guide to all of the concepts we had learned in that class. After taking those exams, I realized that every assignment and every discussion in class is related to the ultimate exam. The practice we get in homework and classwork assignments as well as the topics and pictures displayed in the readings all will help with the exam. I will definitely keep this in mind over the next four years. After the exams, we had a fall break for a week from Oct 26 through Nov 4. Hurricane Sandy had a huge impact on the Princeton community. I heard that a lot of surrounding neighborhoods lost power for many days as well as experienced severe damage due to the storm. The Princeton campus lost several trees and closed its campus for a few days. I am glad I was home with my family during this big storm and have enjoyed a great week with friends. I will be coming back home for Thanksgiving Break! The school will be providing a bus at a low cost to take us back home for the short, but important break. I have really grown attached to my Princeton home, though, and can’t wait to return!

In general, I have made two really close friends on campus and am very grateful to have them. I met one of them on my camping trip and the other lives in the same building. Honestly, I can’t say if I would be enjoying campus life the same without them because we practically do everything together (eat meals, go to events, retrieve free food, explore the surrounding neighborhood, and even study!). While I haven’t made a lot of friends on campus, I am happy to have these close friends by my side. Also, I really like my roommates. We all get along and have had no problems with each other in terms of violation of our Roommate Agreement. I am really grateful to have these people with me while I am so far away from home.

Scholar Check-in: Mauricio Novoa

Mauricio Novoa

Mauricio Novoa

Gettysburg College, junior

The last two weeks haven’t been as eventful as the beginning, but of course a break from college craziness is always good. Classes are the same, with still more reading that I care for but no tests or anything (the benefits of being an English major). The real fun was when the hurricane arrived and we all prepared for the apocalypse. During lunchtime the Saturday it came, everyone went to the dining center and took as much food as they could to make sure no one had to come out mid-storm to eat. Although we weren’t hit as hard as other places (condolences out to those who were badly hit and their families), one of the transformers across the street caught fire and set the trees around it on fire as well, which consequently took out our power. We spent the night in the dark house, but the next day we were told that because there were no generators connected to life safety devices, our house (along with 2 other fraternity houses) had to be moved to the Gettysburg Hotel until the power came back. It was probably the greatest room I have ever slept in in my life. I did not mind having to spend multiple nights away from my own bed, as we were told we would be. But then, the power was fixed that night. The most heartbreaking moment in my life was looking at the super comfy bed, the clean bathroom and towels I didn’t have to clean myself, and luxury I could very well never see again, and leaving them all behind. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner now…

Scholar Check-in: Julie Kwong

Julie Kwong (photo by Rob Crue)

Princeton University, freshman


These past few weeks have been hectic in terms of course work but, as this week came to a close, I started to feel more in control of time and my schedule.

I have to say that it is really stressful here in college. Midterms are this week; I have one in Spanish and one in Architecture this Friday. I have a long essay to finish by this Friday and need to start thinking about my two research papers due in early December. There’s a lot going on and never a moment where I can truly say I am finished with everything. But this is exactly what I like. I enjoy being occupied and being encouraged to use every free second to learn something new in an assigned reading.

This past week, my assignments eased up a little bit and I took advantage of the time to finish my readings early for Freshmen Seminar, so that for once I can be a leading member of our discussions instead of speaking very infrequently like I have been doing for the past month. I’m different in the classroom here than I was in high school; the standards are higher and the students are more participative. I do all of the readings and want to desperately show that I have thoughts on them, but I have not yet been able to make my voice heard in class.

This week, I hope to change that. I have made a list of things I want to mention during discussion as well as several questions I want to bring up. I’ve started to read a bit faster and managed to be less distracted during the readings, saving time and staying focused. I’m ready to take on the challenge. On the other hand, I am really enjoying my Writing Seminar and Spanish classes. I have already watched and analyzed two films (Julie & Julia, The Help) for the writing seminar! It is so interesting to identify the ways in which food plays an important role in a movie, and the readings especially are fascinating. Although we have back-to-back essays, I really enjoy seeing this everyday item in a totally new light. My Spanish class as well is engaging, and in this class, I really have the opportunity to interact with the other students, even if it just means saying ‘hello’ when we see each other on campus. The readings and discussions we do as well as the concepts we cover are fun. My Intro to Architecture class is definitely an intriguing course, but I get confused often in the readings because I have no prior background knowledge on the subject. The precept or discussion section of this class definitely helps clear up some concepts discussed in the lecture by our professor, who is a professional in the field and very entertaining!

Overall, I am starting to get the hang of how to juggle social and academic life. This past weekend, I attended our homecoming events (dance and football game) and still managed to stay on top of my work. I don’t plan on going out to The Street too often anymore because I waste a lot of time there. It was difficult for me to say no to my friends, but once I did, I could really see the difference in how much work I got done and how much time I had left to get ahead.