Find out what the members of the class of 2015 are up to in their first year of college. A college freshman is featured in the Freshman Focus every Friday.
Michael Wong, ‘15, attends American University in Washington, D.C., where he majors in international relations, allowing him to attend off-campus events, such as embassy parties.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: Macroeconomics: Micro(economics) is looking at the economy at smaller, individual levels, such as looking at different companies. Macro is the study of the entire national economy as a system.
Cross-cultural Communications: I’m in the school of international studies. It’s a class we take after world politics (first semester), and it just looks at how different cultures interact.
China from the Inside: I like the subject, but the teacher assigns an extreme amount of work, so I would say this is my least favorite. We meet once a week, so we were once assigned to read a 300-page book in one week. (We are) diving into the history of China and focusing on the time period before, during and after the Communist party came to power.
College Writing Seminar: (The) focus is on food advertisement, how we see food in our daily lives and how it’s advertised and how we develop preconceived notions on food from how we grew up.
Understanding Music: (This is my) favorite class. (We) listen to the guy play, and he’s relaxed but enthusiastic about it. (He) teaches us how to read music and the basics of music.
Q: How’s your dorm?
A: It’s okay. It’s not super cool. Some parts make it look like a jail cell, like the way it’s painted and the way the bricks are laid out.
You can hear a lot through the walls. Like a lot.
Q: The weather?
A: I experienced my first snowstorm, and I got to play in the snow. But after about five minutes, it got old.
I have adequate snow clothing. I prepared pretty proficiently.
Q: The food?
A: The food sucks. It’s what you make of it, though. I have lost a lot of weight and gained muscle. I just go to the gym and eat fruits and vegetables I steal from the cafeteria.
I also bought pans and utensils because I have a stove in my dorm.
Q: Are you participating in any extracurricular activities? Greek life?
A: I’m in the Korean students’ association. It’s catered towards Koreans, but if you’re not Korean but you’re interested in the culture, you can come out.
Peace: Peace of East Asia in Creative Engagement. I’m part of the executive board and the mission.
I’m pledging to DPE, Delta Phi Epsilon. It’s the nation’s only professional foreign service fraternity. (Foreign service is just another term for international relations.)
Q: What’s D.C. like? Have you ventured into town?
A: We’re not in D.C. directly, but we’re close. We have a traditional campus. It’s really nice. A lot of things are pretty accessible. The food in the city is pretty good. I go out a lot. I go clubbing (certain clubs are 18-plus).
I wouldn’t say I go to frat parties; I go to house parties.
I became more social after high school. I’m less confined and meet more people.
I go to embassy parties, which are exactly the name. They are just balls at the embassies. I went to one the Cambodian ambassador held.
Q: How are you adjusting to the campus? Have you gotten lost or had trouble navigating?
A: I haven’t had any problems
It’s definitely bigger than Country Day, but it’s not super huge.
Q: How do you get around?
A: I walk. It’s not a lot of effort. It’s convenient to walk around.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing freshman mistake you’ve had made so far?
A: Forgetting to tell my roommate I had someone over.
Other than that, I don’t do much dumb stuff. I’m doing pretty well.
Q:What has disappointed you about your school? Delighted you? Surprised you?
A: I wish the dorm rooms were a little bigger.
The first week (when we didn’t have classes) was delighting because we were able to ease in and go out a lot.
It surprised me that American was very welcoming. I have met so many people here. I didn’t expect it to be this natural. There wasn’t a phase of me not knowing anyone. I got into a group of friends really quickly and went in with an extroverted attitude to meet as many friends as possible
Q: What makes American special? Why did you choose it?
A: Everyone here is so involved in terms of political affairs. Everyone here is always aware with what is going on, so you can usually have an intelligent conversation with someone and learn something new.
You also start to meet people from all over the world.
There are a lot of kids from military families, so they aren’t ignorant of what’s going on around the world. They have also moved around a lot, which I find interesting.
As soon as I came here, I knew it was for me because of the feel.
Q: Do you have any advice for the class of 2016?
A: Visit your college because that is the biggest thing that made it for me. I just wanted to know the atmosphere and the way people interact.
They don’t give you the cold shoulder.
—By Jake Longoria