FRESHMAN FOCUS: Gracie Strumpfer joins Pride club at Univ. of San Diego, facing semi-conservative administration

(Photo used by permission of Strumpfer)
Gracie Strumpfer, ’16, stands with her stepmother, math teacher Patricia Jacobsen, at the University of San Diego.

Gracie Strumpfer, ‘16, is a freshman at the University of San Diego. She has not decided on a major yet.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Last semester I took The Vietnam Wars Honors, German 101, Theatre and Society, and English: Fact, Truth, and Fiction. This semester I’ll be taking World War II Honors, Intro to Sociology, Intro to Psychology, Intro to World Religions Honors and one other, maybe Latin.

Q: How big are your classes?

A: My biggest class last semester was about 35 people; (the smallest was) about 10. I like the smaller class sizes. It’s like Country Day. I get to know my professors better, and they know me.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: Probably my English class, though I also loved The Vietnam Wars class.

Q: Why did you like English so much?

A: The teacher was fantastic. (She) took the time to get to know all of us, assigned interesting books, and we always had really good discussions.

Q: And The Vietnam Wars class?

A: I’ve always been interested in that time period. My dad and I watch documentaries about it a lot, so it was cool to have a whole class dedicated to it.

Q: How did Country Day English classes prepare you for English in college?

A: (English teacher Patricia) Fels taught us how to write. Some people in college don’t know how to write an essay.

Q: What was your least favorite class?

A: Least favorite would have to be German. Decided not to continue with the language.

Q: What was bad about it?

A:  Just wasn’t super into it. After studying Latin, it was really weird to learn a language with only three cases. (I) didn’t like it.

Q: Have you participated in clubs or extracurriculars?

A: Yeah, I’m in Pride and a couple offshoots of it. I’ve made a lot of friends through it. Pride isn’t just gay pride: it’s for all members of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. As for offshoots, we have a discussion every other week and there’s a group for LGBTQ+ identified women (anyone who identifies for the word “woman,” no matter exactly how they identify – non-binary, genderfluid, etc.).

Q: Did you transition well?

A: The transition was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I miss being home, especially my cat, but I feel like I fit in really well.

(Photo used by permission of Gracie Strumpfer)
A reindeer brought on campus for Christmas sniffs someone’s hand.

Q: What is the overall attitude of the student body? Are the majority very studious or are they big partiers?

A: More studious than partiers, I’d say, but there are definitely parties to go to if that’s your scene.

Q: How do you get around campus?

A: I walk. I can walk the length of campus in about 10 minutes, so it’s not bad at all.

Q: What is the surrounding town like?

A: Well it’s San Diego, so there’s lots to do. We’re like five minutes from Mission Beach and pretty close to Pacific Beach. I’ve gone out downtown with friends for dinner.

Q: What’s your dorm like?

A: I live in a suite-style dorm. I have one roommate, and two girls live right across from us. The four of us share a bathroom – not Jack and Jill style – and that’s it. Same set-up on the other side of the floor with a common area in between. Just the eight of us on our floor, which is really nice.

Q: How are your roommates?

A: My roommate is fine. We’re not best friends, but we get along. We go to bed and get up around the same time, so no conflicts there.

Q: Has the college lived up to your expectations?

A: Yeah, I think so. Then again, I’m not sure what I expected. But it’s been good!

Q: What don’t you like about your college?

A: We’re a Catholic college, so sometimes the administration isn’t as progressive as I’d like: things like the protest of our annual drag show (a show where people dress up as the other gender) and a lot of restrictions on that.

Q: Have you made any freshman mistakes?

A: I didn’t realize how Bert’s Bistro (one of the places to eat on campus) worked the first time I went for lunch. You have to take your order outside to the grill. Just stood around looking dumb for like five minutes before they (the staff) took pity on me and told me what to do.

Q: Any advice for the class of ’17?

A: Even if you can’t go to your first choice (because you) don’t get accepted, it’s too expensive or whatever the reason, your backup might end up being just as good, if not better. Also, don’t look down on safety schools. I went to one of mine, and I love it here.

By Spencer Scott

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