Maddie Woo takes a photo of the sunset from campus. (Photo courtesy of Woo)

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Maddie Woo, ’20, enjoys the Associated Student Government at University of San Diego

Maddie Woo, ’20, attends the University of San Diego. She is double majoring in business and computer science.

Q: What classes are you taking this semester?

A: I’m taking Computer Science 110, which is the first computer science class. I am also taking Foundations of Higher Level Math, which is mostly about proving theorems in paragraph form. I’m also taking Theater 101 and Microeconomics 101.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: In terms of the social aspect, I would say that my favorite class is theater because I have more time to relax and talk to others. But, in general, my favorite class is computer science. I was able to meet a really close friend of mine while programming projects together.

Q: What is the average size of your classes?

A: My classes range from 10 to 30 students. My largest class is computer science, which has around 25 students. My smallest class is theater, which has 12 students.

Q: Why did you want to major in business and computer science?

A: I have an interest in the business aspect of my major. I enjoy talking to people. I also enjoy the managing aspect of business, which I would consider as one of my strengths. My parents also gave me advice and helped me choose my major. I think computer science is applicable to mostly anything, which makes it easier to find jobs. 

Q: What is your housing situation like?

A: I have been living in an apartment for upperclassmen called Manchester Housing, which is affiliated with USD. The apartment is on campus and I was living with a suitemate. The floor plan is four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. 

Q: How was your transition to USD?

A: I would consider my transition to USD seamless. With my background at Country Day, I was able to form a relationship with my professors much sooner. I also felt comfortable asking for help from my professors outside of class. I decided to join the Associated Student Government, and now I am the sustainability coordinator. I really enjoy being a part of the Associated Student Government, and I probably couldn’t have done it without my background at Country Day.

Q: How has the pandemic affected your experience at college?

A: We had a COVID-19 screening every day, where the school sends out a survey every morning to the students regarding their symptoms for the day. There are tents set up all over campus where students can get their temperature checked and show their completed surveys. And once you pass the screening, you receive a wristband. Students without a wristband or mask are not allowed into any of the buildings. 

Once we went into the purple zone, the school didn’t allow indoor dining. The school set up tents and gas heaters so students could eat outside. We also had to make appointments for a weekly COVID-19 test at a special site on campus. All of my classes were remote, but I appreciated spending time with my friends and getting to know some other people in person. 

Q: Are you on campus?

A: Well, I recently just moved off campus for the semester. Our first five weeks of school were remote, but the remaining eight weeks or so were spent on campus.

Maddie Woo and friends walk around campus to see the lights at the learning commons. (Photo courtesy of Woo)

Q: Why did you decide to attend USD?

A: I knew that I wanted to attend a private school. After several zoom sessions put together by different colleges, I felt that USD had the most  thought-out plan for the new school year, so it seemed to be the safest option. I also have family in San Diego, which made me feel safer. I enjoy the small class sizes, which has allowed me to get to know my professors. I love the location and feel very familiar with the area. Their business school is also well established. Also, the food at USD is amazing! There are plenty of options for students with specific food allergies or restrictions. 

Q: Have you made any freshmen mistakes?

A: I thought that I could walk around in flip flops at night, but my feet nearly froze. Once, I accidentally walked out of my room without a mask. Then, I realized it was in the laundry room on the other side of housing. I started walking there, but I realized it was in my room. I have also been learning more about time management. Sometimes, I don’t account for the amount of time it takes to walk from one place to another, so I end up getting a little late for Zoom calls. 

Q: How has Country Day prepared you for college?

A: I am so grateful to Country Day because they helped me rediscover my passion for learning. My experience at Country Day has taught me how to think critically, write effectively and balance my schedule. Most importantly, I have learned to stop stressing about being wrong. The teachers have put more of an emphasis on the learning process rather than consistently getting the right answer, which has made it much easier to ask for help and volunteer in class.

Q: Any advice for the class of 2021?

A: Remember to keep an open mind when looking at colleges. Don’t base your decision solely on the prestige of a school because there are more important factors that play into making your decision. It’s important to make sure that your school has everything you want to get the best education, opportunities and social community needed to succeed. Also, make sure that you put in the time and effort to learn more about different schools. Best of luck!

University of San Diego
Quality of classes
Student-teacher interactions

— By Aarushi Rohatgi

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