(Photo used by permission of Layla Sun)
Layla Sun, 15, (left) and her friend built a snowman in front of the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, where Sun majors in biology. Since the UR mascot is a yellowjacket, the girls poured juice over the snowman to make it yellow.

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 week. 

Layla Sun, ‘15, attends the University of Rochester, in New York. She is majoring in biology.

Q: What classes are you taking, and which do you like the best?

A: Biology, chemistry, Math 162, a freshman writing course and Japanese.

Chemistry is my favorite class because the professor is funny, nice and easy to talk to.

Q: How challenging was your math class?

A: The math class I took last semester (161) was actually more challenging. I struggled a bit.

Q: Why did you take Japanese? Are you planning to visit Japan?

A: I actually speak fluent Japanese, but decided to perfect (it). I’m taking the advanced level course. I’m also considering participating in the study abroad program in Japan.

Q: Which classes don’t you like?

A: Writing because I don’t like writing in general.

Q: How’s your dorm?

A: I don’t really like it. I’m in a double, and it’s really small. The whole floor shares a bathroom. And sometimes the heater doesn’t work very effectively.

Q: The weather?

A: It’s actually better than I expected. They say it’s a mild winter this year for Rochester. We had heavy snow last week. The snow was up to my knees, and school was cancelled. It dropped below 0 degrees last month, but now we’re back to 30.

Q: Are you a fan of the snow? 

A: I don’t like the snow. It’s really slippery to walk on, and I need to watch my every step. We built a snowman, though. It was fun.

Q: The food?

A: We have two dining halls, and one is under construction. The other one is okay, but the food choices are quite limited and you get bored of the food quickly.

We have a noodle station, and they serve ramen sometimes. It’s not very authentic, but it’s the best I can get on campus.

Q: Are you participating in any extracurricular activities?

A: I’m in PAWS, which is an animal-loving and volunteer club. We help out at local animal rescue organizations. We are trained to take care of the dogs at rescue centers and adoption events.

Q: What’s Rochester like?

A: It’s a really small town. We don’t have many places to go to. I usually hang out with my friends around campus. There are some good restaurants.

The Eastman Living Center is also quite cool. It’s where our Eastman School of Music is, and there are always some good concerts.

Q: How have you adjusted to college life? How is it different than high school?

A: I have more free time now compared to high school. It’s tempting to just go out and have fun all the time, but I manage to get my work done. Now I find it quite easy to balance studying and playing.

Q: What do you do during your free time?

A: I usually just chill with my friends or watch TV shows in my dorm.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: I just finished season five of “Game of Thrones.” I’m a little late on it, but I still love it.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing freshman mistake you’ve made so far?

A: I opened my laptop to take notes in biology, and it started playing music.

Q: What makes UR special? Why did you choose it?

A: I was choosing between Davis and UR and decided on UR because I wanted to see what it’s like living on the East Coast.

I also heard that UR’s biology major was quite good.

Q: What has been the highlight of going to college?

A: Getting to know some really nice people.

Q: Any advice for the class of ’16?

A: Get to know your professors and TAs. They can help you a lot when you need it.

And try to show up in class even if the teachers don’t take roll; it pays off.

Get some really nice boots if you are going somewhere cold and snowy.

—By Ulises Barajas

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