FRESHMAN FOCUS: Kaeleigh Valverde, ’17, enjoys soccer, Chinese, own double room at Mills College

(Photo used by permission of Valverde)
Kaeleigh Valverde, ’17, poses in the greenery near Mills College.

Kaeleigh Valverde, ‘17, attends Mills College, a women’s college in Oakland, California.


Q: How was the transition from high school to college?

A: The hardest part was living on my own. I went from living with my family to living in a room by myself.

  (But) I have a lot of upperclassman friends from my soccer team, so they helped me through a lot of the questions (and) problems I had. (Therefore), the transition academically and socially wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.


Q: Did SCDS prepare you well ?

A:  Country Day definitely prepared me academically. The intensity of the curriculum definitely prepared me for the high-level education that I (am) getting in college.


Q: Do you have any roommates?

A: I had a roommate for the first two weeks; then she decided she wanted her own room. Now I have a room meant for two people all to myself.


Q: Where are some of your friends from?

A: I have two close friends: one is from Hawaii and the other is from Washington. Most (of my other friends) are from ( Los Angeles)


Q: How is it having a double room all to yourself?

A: It’s nice. I have a lot of space, so I can have my friends over and they can hang out. All of her furniture is still here, so if people come over to study, they can use her desk. I use her extra dresser to put all my snacks in.


Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Rhetoric and Composition, which is an English class; Breaking Barriers, which is a first-year seminar class; Chinese 1; and a 3D Design Concepts and Theory class.


Q: What are your favorite and least favorite classes?

A: My favorite is Chinese because I really like learning languages and learning about their culture. (Also), learning a language that is so foreign to me is very interesting and fun.

  My least favorite class is my first- year seminar class (Breaking Barriers) because we are basically just working on a term paper during class. The teacher is just there to help us if we need something.


Q: Which are your hardest and easiest classes?
A:  My hardest class is my art class  (3D Design Concepts and Theory), which seems kind of backwards because I am an art major. The class is more of a sculpture class, (but) I am used to painting and drawing.

Most recently I had to create an everyday object out of cardboard. I made a clothing iron that was two times larger than a regular iron. I had to use material that I’ve never used before ,and there was a short amount of time (to finish) the project. I struggled with how much time I needed and how to make it look good.

 My easiest is my English class because there is a lot of writing. (Since Country Day had) so much writing, it comes very naturally to me.


Q: How big are your classes?

A: They are about the same size as they (were) at Country Day. My biggest class has probably 15 people.  


Q: How do the classes at Mills compare to Country Day classes?

A: Here (they) are maybe a little bit harder, but (they’re) very similar. The classes are really small, so you have a really strong relationship with teachers. If I have a question or (if) something is unclear, I can ask them (during class). I don’t have to worry about seeing them later because there are so few of us. The teachers (give us) a lot of attention, (they’re very) similar to (teachers at) Country Day.


Q: Are you involved in any clubs or extracurricular activities?

A:  I joined the soccer team.

We practice Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 a.m.  Every day, I have to wake up at 5 a.m. and go to practice. It’s tough and tiring, but it definitely keeps me in shape, so I am very grateful.

 It’s (also) hard because we travel. Recently we went to Arizona and Los Angeles. We have to travel on the weekends, so juggling homework and telling teachers (ahead of time) is hard.


Q: How does the environment of a women’s school differ from a coed school?

A: It’s a lot more inclusive. The undergraduate school here is all girls, but the graduate program is coed. I still see men walking around campus – there’s just fewer of them.

Q: How does living in Oakland compare to Sacramento?

A: I live in an area where there isn’t a lot of people, and I am usually so busy that I don’t go off campus. (But) it’s very strange because if  I want to go to Target or go grocery shopping, it’s so far, at least a 15-minute drive. That was a hard adjustment for me because everything is so close (in Sacramento).


Q: How has the food been?
A: We have two dining options: dining hall (and) the Tea Shop, which (has) better quality food but (is) more expensive. The dining hall food is pretty (bad), so I’ll go there if I need a cheap meal. If I’m willing to spend a couple more dollars, I’ll go to the Tea Shop; the food there is really good. My favorite (food item to order) is a grilled turkey sandwich.  


Q: What advice would you give to SCDS high schoolers?

A: Don’t think that there is only one path to what you want. Mills wasn’t my first choice, but I love it here.


Five-star or subpar?

  • Food: ☆☆☆
  • Location: ☆☆
  • School Spirit: ☆☆☆☆
  • Clubs: ☆☆☆
  • Student-Teacher Interaction: ☆☆☆☆☆

—By Kristine Schmitz

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