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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.

College Scholar Check-in: Mauricio Novoa

Mauricio Novoa

Mauricio Novoa

In the second installment of our year-long series of college Scholar check-ins, Mauricio Novoa (CDI Class of ’10; Gettysburg College Class of ’14) discusses his workload and some of his extracurricular activities. 

The start of the school year went pretty well: reuniting with my friends after the summer, getting mass amounts of readings the first week, and giving my word to volunteer at 20,000 different things before getting used to my course load. I’m currently enrolled in 17th Century English Drama, Literary Foundations of Western Culture, Critical Methods for English, and a Poetry class. My grades may not look so hot this semester, since reading isn’t really my strongest attribute and these classes are basically all reading. But who knows, I might pull off some miracles.

For volunteer work, I’ve been asked to help out with the Migrant Education after school program again, which helps children of migrant families bridge the education gap with help on homework, English, and anything else they might need. This time, though, instead of just being a tutor, I’ve been asked to take on more of a staff role and be on hand to help the tutors if need be. I’m not quite sure exactly how this will work, but I’m helping to train the new tutors. I’m also helping with adult ESL classes for Migrant Ed, which I did over the summer during my internship in Gettysburg. I’m really excited to get back to working with the families, especially the Lopez-Espinozas, who sort of adopted me while I stayed in town over the summer. I’m hoping they invite me over to their house again for some nice home-cooked Hispanic food, as I am severely lacking it in school. In addition, I have a work-study job at Vida Charter School as a classroom aid, which is an amazing experience. Working with the little kids is so much fun, and how can it not be when they’re so adorable and trying to learn Spanish. This group of kids looks to be a bit more challenging behavior-wise than my group last year, but I’m sure Mr. Victor (the head teacher) and I can handle it.

With my fraternity, we’re working on getting a big philanthropy event set up for October. The event will essentially be a night of inflatables; people will come and play on them for 4 hours. They will then purchase raffle tickets for prizes and that would be where we get money to donate. This would be a collaboration between the Latin American Student Association (I’m Vice President) and the Campus Activities Board. Since I’m the philanthropy chair for the fraternity, I have to run around talking to people to try and get this going, but other people have been handling the bulk of that so far, so now I’m just trying to tie up the loose ends.

Read Scholar Julie Kwong’s first check-in from Princeton.