My Life After PASB
After reporting Samantha's experience in USC, this edition's chosen alumni is... Giulia Molinari! In the same graduating class as Samantha, our featured alumnus last issue, Giulia she just completed her freshman year in Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. We got in touch with her online, and she was happy to answer Scoop questions about her experience so far:
Scoop: What are your first perceptions about your school? How did they change from the beginning to now?
Giulia: When I first got to Northeastern, I had no expectations. This was because I hadn’t visited the university before attending it. Also, I had never been to Boston before. So, I had no idea of what life would be there. However, throughout the months, I discovered that Northeastern is an amazing school that offers many opportunities to their students. I will further explain it all in the next questions.
Scoop: What are 5 best/worst things about living in Boston?
Giulia: Amongst the best things is that everything is close by, meaning that you can or walk or take the subway very easily to places. Also, there is ALWAYS something new to do, and you are able to meet people from SO MANY colleges. You will always meet people from your home country, and they also have truly amazing Brazilian restaurants. For worst things: SNOW!! Also, it is extremely windy, and the traffic can get bad. Other than that, I can't think of anything else.
Scoop: What are the 5 best/worst things about Northeastern in general?
- The co-op program
- Campus and city life,
- Diversity: you meet people from literally everywhere in the world
- Campus and city life
- They have two subways stations on campus, making it convenient to get to places
- They always give out stuffed huskies (the school mascot)
- They always bring famous people to sing in our coffee shop during weekdays
- Diversity of food: sushi, pizza, hamburger, pasta, meat, salad, stir fry, cookies, cake, NUTELLA!!!
- Some dorms can be far from the classrooms
- Crossing an avenue every day and making sure to not get run over on the way to class
- Library is ALWAYS full
- Freshman 15 (it is real)
Scoop: Did you have a hard time making friends or was it easy?
Giulia: I did not have a hard time making friends at all. In fact, before going to orientation at Northeastern, I contacted some people through Facebook and talked to them before so I could arrive there with friends already. To be honest, it sucks sitting through orientation and not having someone you know sitting next to you. One advice I would give for the rising seniors is to NOT select a random roommate. Of course, you have the odds of getting an amazing roommate. But at the same time, you may get matched to someone who is not compatible to you at all. Therefore, there always is a Facebook group for incoming freshmen, so you can try to get to know people and maybe get a potential roommate before.
Scoop: What are the hardships that come with living in a dorm?
Giulia: Back in Salvador, I had my own room with my private bathroom and a big sized bed. It was amazing. Yet, when going to college, I decided to have a roommate to share a room with. Unfortunately, our room was extremely small and both of us got bunk beds. We had to share our bathroom with three other girls that lived next to us. Also, I had to clean my room every week; I had to wash my own clothes. However, for me, the worst part was the bunk beds. Plus, they did not give me a side stairs. So, I had to climb it everyday. Seriously, it was the worst. Additionally, you share a room with a STRANGER. In the beginning, I felt awkward changing in front of someone I barely knew. Yet, I got used to it with time as my roommate and I became really close friends.
Scoop: Do you have time to balance your study/social life?
Giulia: In the beginning, I did have a balance. I was determined to finish all my work during the week and have the weekend free to meet new people and explore Boston. However, that was impossible for me later. Most of my professors gave out an unmanageable amount of work every week and I did not know how, but I, magically, finished everything on time. However, this did not affect my social life. I did go out with my friends to parties and I did enjoy my first year a lot. To be honest, I have no idea how I did it. Hahaha. You will, for sure, figure out something. However, one advice that I would give for those still in high school is to get to know your professor. Talk to your professor, introduce yourself to him/her, go to his/her office hours and should him/her that you are interest in the course. This will make your life so much easier. Believe me.
Scoop: Is there anything you believe a prospective Northeastern student should know before applying?
Giulia: There are so many things to know about Northeastern! I believe the number one thing is that our co-op program is HUGE! For those who do not know what co-op is, it basically is a semester that you get to work for company in the field of your major. Northeastern encourages all of its students to do it, and if you decide to do it, you can do two co-ops and graduate in four years or do three co-ops and graduate in five years. Imagine that you get work experience even before you graduate. The best part is that you can do your co-op anywhere in the world. In fact,a couple of years ago, there was a student that even went to Antarctica for her co-op. Another thing that students should know before applying is that Northeastern is improving in the rankings exponentially in the past years and its acceptance rate has dropped a lot as well. There are so many things I could tell you guys, but if someone wishes to know more, this person is more than welcome to contact me! I would love to help!
Scoop: Is it really hard to live away from home?
Giulia: In the beginning, it was not hard at all. In fact, it was my first time living away from my parents and to be honest, I was really excited about this aspect. However, there are some days, mostly Sundays for me, that I feel so homesick and I wish I was back home. Especially when winter arrives in Boston, I keep wishing I was in the sunny beaches of Salvador.
Scoop: Do you still keep up with a lot of your PASB friends?
Giulia: Yes, I do! I talk frequently to my closest PASB friends. It is good sharing this experience with my friends from back home.
Scoop: Regarding study habits and classes, what is the major difference you noticed from high school?
Giulia: To be honest, I feel like I did not “learn how to study" in high school. I have so much to do now that I have no idea how I manage to do it all. It is normal for me to pull an all-nighter. It is not a healthy habit to have, but it is a necessary one for me. However, I am not saying that you cannot enjoy the social aspect of college. If you learn how to balance both, you will be completely fine (I haven’t figured that balance yet hehe).
Scoop: Do you feel your daily schedule is better than when you lived in Salvador? (As in more fun, more adapted to your interests etc.)
Giulia: Yes! The good part in college is that you can choose the time of your classes. Most of the freshmen classes are lecture classes, meaning that over 500 people will take that class. Hence, to spread out the students, the university offers the same lecturer class in different times. So, from that, depending on the university you decide to attend, you can choose the time that you have your first class and the other classes. Back in Salvador, I had to wake up 6 am everyday in order to go to class. In Boston, my first class is at 10:20 am, meaning that I have plenty of time to sleep and get ready before class.
Scoop: Have you gotten involved in any extracurricular activities yet?
Giulia: Yes I have. Extracurricular activities are essential in college life. In fact, having extracurricular activities means getting into clubs. Clubs are a huge thing and it is important to get involved starting in your freshman year. This year I got involved in the Brazilian Student Association as the vice-president of the Northeastern chapter, I was member of the Latin American Student Organization, and weekly volunteered in the headquarter of an organization that collected books for children. I wish I got more involved, but due to my workload, I couldn’t.
Scoop: Are you still doing Pre-Med as major? What are the major difficulties you have encountered so far for choosing that path as an international student?
Giulia: Actually, Pre-Med is not a major. It is a track that you take through college. In other words, there is not a major called “Pre-Med”; you can choose to major in Biology or Chemistry, which are more connected to Medicine. Pre-Med are required classes you need to take in order to apply to Medical School after your first four years as an undergraduate student.
I had an extremely difficult first year because I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I got accepted to Northeastern as a Health Science major and was excited for it. However, after my first week of classes, I was not sure that was exactly what I wanted to do. Therefore, I decided to go Undeclared so I could explore my options. This semester, I decided to apply to the College of Engineering, however, I did not choose my major yet. I have until the end of the first semester of my sophomore year to decide it. A great factor that made me change my major is that most of the medical schools do not accept international students. For those schools that do accept, the acceptance rate is below 1%. Therefore, it is extremely hard for us, international students, to get into medical school. I did not want to bet my entire life on that. So, I decided to major in something that I enjoy and am good on. However, I can still be on a pre-med track if I want to. I still haven’t decided that though. I am not saying, however, that it is impossible and people should not try.
As you can see, Giulia's experience is different from Samantha's in many aspects. The place, the weather, opinions about the Freshman 15… all differ, simply because all experiences are amazingly distinct! Whether you go to Boston, Los Angeles, Canada, Brazil, or anywhere else, your experience will be what you make of it. What matters is seizing the best from your experiences, despite the possible cultural shocks, weather differences, and any other difficulties that might arise. The first step, in fact, is getting out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in the experience. Now, let us know which student you want to see in the next edition, and what questions you want asked to them. Leave your comments below!
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