College Talk: Sarah Cho

Sarah Cho
University of Pennsylvania
English Literature, Minor: Asian American Studies
“I’m a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a DBHS 2013 alum! In my time on the Bull’s Eye, I was Feature Editor and A&E Assistant Editor. Currently, I am studying English Literature with a concentration in creative writing. I am also pursuing a minor in Asian American Studies. I love going to concerts, trying new experiences, kicking back with friends, and just having an overall good time!”

1. Why did you pick the school that you currently attend?
I picked the school because firstly, the English department – which was my intended major – was very strong and overall the school had a lot of resources. I also loved the fact that it was in the middle of a fairly major city which gives me the opportunity to do a lot both socially and professionally. Lastly, Penn is known as the “Social Ivy League” and its students are known to have a very “work hard-play hard” mentality which fits me perfectly.

2. How is the food?
Dining halls suck, but there are a lot of cool places to eat in the city from hipster cafes to upscale restaurants. There isn’t a lot of good Asian food though in the area T.T.

3. It seems like I don’t have any extracurricular activities outside of school. I’m just in school clubs and volunteer at events offered by the clubs. Is there any way to find something meaningful to do outside of school? What did you guys do? Also, I didn’t get any awards and don’t know where to go to at least have an opportunity to earn an award (besides FBLA, TSA or any clubs like that) Do you guys have any suggestions?
If you’re really worried about it, finding internship opportunities to develop professionally or volunteer opportunities to develop personally are great. I wouldn’t worry too much though. If you are really involved in school opportunities, there’s still many chances to really make a meaningful impact.

4. How do I deal with being away from my family?
It is hard in the beginning. But, it gets easier and easier each semester away. Calling and texting is a great way to stay in touch. The two things that helped me the most though, is really committing to the college experience by finding activities I was passionate about and finding a solid group of friends who become my second family.

5. Do you think you underestimated yourself when you applied to schools?
Definitely, but I don’t regret doing so. It made being rejected much easier and being accepted all the more happier.

6. What is college like for you?
I’ve definitely experienced more in my two years of college than I have in my entire life. I’ve matured; I’ve learned so much; and I really discovered who I was and what I believed in. College has so many chances for new experiences and it really changes your life and your perspective.
College has also been quite the roller coaster. I’ve had the highest highs of my life and my lowest lows. I’ve had moments where I was the saddest, most broken down I’ve ever been in my life. But, I’ve also had moments where I was the happiest I had ever been in my life.

7. What’s the difference between a double major and a dual major? Which is better in your opinion?
At Penn, there’s a double major and there’s a dual degree. A double major involves simply majoring in two fields in the same school so you would still only get one B.A. or B.S. but have two majors. A dual degree involves two majors in separate schools (like getting a degree in both the business school and engineering school). A dual degree is much more rigorous, involves much more work, but is probably better if you have a niche interest such as hospital management where you need very specific skills and knowledge (at Penn you can get a dual degree in nursing and business). A double major is easier to attain and is better if you’re just interested in a variety of different fields and topics.

8. How do you manage your time in college since you now have a flexible schedule?
I always set aside a few hours at the end of the day to relax and socialize. For the rest of my time, at the beginning of every day I make a to-do list of tasks to complete to keep myself accountable and to stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

9. What were your thoughts on DB once you entered college?
While in high school, I thought it was dull and boring, I understand that it’s a great place to raise a family. I also took all of the amazing Asian food for granted Q.Q

10. Would you recommend the east coast or west coast?
I love the West Coast and I fully intend to return after college. It is by far superior in my opinion. But, I love the out-of-state experience and would fully recommend it. I feel that going out of state has forced me to grow up more and has really given me to opportunity to be my own person. It’s an amazing experience and I would say that if you have the opportunity, go as far away from home as possible because as difficult as it is, it is such a rewarding experience.

Questions directed to Sarah:

1. How did you write your personal statement?
I actually didn’t even look at the writing prompts given on the common app. Because all of the prompts are very general, you can pretty much write anything and it’ll fit one of the prompts. Therefore, all I did was sit down, think about what was important to me and what was important about me, and wrote. I actually really liked writing my personal statements and I had a fun time with college applications.

2. How do you find what you are passionate in your choice of major? I love to breakdance but i’ve been worry about my future on what I want to do with my life? Any tips?
While going into college I was fairly certain I wanted to major in English, I still wasn’t completely sure and that’s ok. Freshman year and first semester of sophomore year, I focused on taking courses I was genuinely interested in but still tried to fulfill general requirements if I could. I was able to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t and that was how I discovered my passion for Asian American Studies.

It’s fine if you’re not sure what you want to do. What people forget in high school is that there are hundreds of more fields of study offered in college than in high school. It’s not just English, Math, Science, and so on. There’s Sociology, Criminology, Neuroscience, Gender Studies, East Asian Language Studies, Urban Studies, Marketing, Accounting, Creative Writing, and so many more. It’s much more nuanced and if you really prioritize trying to find a major you’re genuinely interested in, you will find it. Just don’t makeself worry too much over it.

3. What advice would you give to someone debating on whether to stay closer to home or move across the country?
While people have differing opinions, my thoughts are these: if you have the opportunity and the ability, go as far away from home as possible. Being so close to home, you almost have a safety net and a solid anchor you can return to. It makes things easier of course, but I think it also hinders you from becoming your own person. Going all the way across the country helped me grow up more. It forced me to be on my own and helped me find out who I really was. I’m not going to lie; it is very difficult. You miss home; you miss your family.; and the worst part is that your world is never complete – half of your friends and loved ones are always somewhere else. But, I’ve been able to experience so much and mature so much in my time being out of state.