High School: Singapore American School
Study Abroad? (have you, or are you planning on it, where/when?): Most likely fall of 2014, somewhere in Latin or Central America.
Why did you choose Middlebury?
Something about Middlebury really resonated with me after my campus tour. I got the impression that students here really cared about what they were doing academically but also really cared about each other – and I thought that was really special. Also, because I had attended international schools for most of my life, I knew that I wanted a place with a close-knit yet still diverse community, and it was clear to me that Middlebury offered that. I applied here early decision and have never looked back.
Why/How did you choose your major?
I knew the summer after my sophomore year of high school that I was interested in studying neuroscience after attending a camp and taking classes introducing me to the field. I had always been interested in biology and psychology, and neuroscience is the integration of those two things into one field of study. The neuroscience major at Middlebury was especially appealing to me, though, because of its interdisciplinary nature. It combines classes from the psychology, biology, and philosophy departments into one major in order to allow us to gain different perspectives on how to understand human nature, and I think that is really unique and invaluable.
What was your biggest challenge transitioning into the college atmosphere?
It was (and is still) really difficult for me to maintain a good balance between academics and social life. I think people at Middlebury generally put academics first, but there are always temptations to put work on hold in order to spend more time with friends or attend all of the cool activities that are going around on campus (and there are a ton!).
What is your fondest memory of Middlebury thus far?
There are too many! But if I had to pick, I would say it was this past spring when the weather finally turned nice and I spent one weekend outside the entire time with friends instead of doing work. We played Frisbee, went to barbecues, lounged, and just had an incredible time enjoying the beautiful Vermont spring weather and each other’s company.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken here?
That would probably be my first year seminar, Sophocles and Athens. My professor, Pavlos Sfyroeras, is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and some of my best friends at Middlebury came from that class. It was also a class completely different from anything that I’ve ever taken, and it was really neat to be able to explore a new field among a group of friends.
What do you do in your spare time?
I mainly spend time with friends – eating long meals in the dining halls, going into town, or spending time outside (skiing in the winter, playing Frisbee or other sports in the fall and spring). Other than that I catch up on the latest episodes of Modern Family or take lots of naps.
Which Harry Potter character would you be and why?
Neville Longbottom. He transitioned from a socially awkward and ridiculed little chubster into the hero of the story.
You’re taking a cross-country road trip: which Middlebury professor do you bring along and why?
I would definitely bring Pavlos Sfyroeras. He was my first year seminar professor (and my advisor) and he is one of the kindest and most pleasant people I’ve ever met. He is also incredibly knowledgeable and would be able to whip out historical facts left and right.
One piece of advice you would give prospective students in the admissions process?
Don’t get caught up in the ‘name’ or rankings of a school. Pick a place that you can imagine yourself thriving in – that’s the most important thing of all. This might mean that you have to be a little introspective and ask yourself what you want from a school, and what type of environment you think you personally need in order to be happy and make the most of your college experience. But once you do that, everything will get a lot easier and you’ll be able to make the right decision for yourself.