Alumni From SFIHS Find Rewards in New College Experiences
By Guest Blogger Kyle Halle-Erby, SPAN Program Coordinator, San Francisco International High School
San Francisco International High School’s most recent alumni at UC Davis and UC Berkeley have been very busy adjusting and transitioning into their new lives as college students. Here are some of their most recent stories.
QiHao (Gary) Yu, Freshman at UC Davis, Community and Regional Development Major
“I am doing well in UC Davis. The campus is big and people around the campus are friendly.”
College definitely has more challenges than high school. When I was a senior, I received an invitation from Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP). STEP is a program under the EOP of UC Davis. It helps me to adapt college life quicker. Now, I still remember the first day of STEP. It was the first time when I had to leave my family and went to a new environment. I was homesick in my first day. Luckily, I have two friends from my high school who also went to the program with me, so I have someone to talk to. During STEP, I had an opportunity to take some college level classes, met a lot of the new friends and got to know a lot of resources in UC Davis. It is an unforgettable memory for me.
After STEP, I went back to SF for a week and prepared for school. In the first day of school, we had a lot of volunteers to help us to move in. Since I have gone to STEP, I was able to adapt my first day of school easily. I had selected a “double” for my housing plan. My roommate is my friend from a volunteer program, so we knew each other before. In my first quarter, I did not select a lot of difficult classes in my first quarter, so I have a relax quarter. During this quarter, I tried to use all the resources of campus, such as tutoring and the Activity and Recreation Center. After my first quarter, I understood the life and challenges in college, and I believe that I can overcome these challenges.
Yitong Zhang, Freshman at UC Davis, Computer Science Major
“I decided to change my major to computer science because I don’t like my current major’s future career.”
The part I enjoyed most is talking to people. Everyone here is so nice. They are willing to talk to you and even help you although they don’t know you. The biggest challenges I faced were homesickness and getting use to the workload. I attended a summer program, it was super helpful because I made friends with a lot of people and they provided classes for us to experience. I learned a lot from the class, the best part is I learned the content the teacher is teaching right now. This program also provides the member’s prior registration. One fun thing in Davis is you can see squirrels anywhere.
I decided to change my major to computer science because I don’t like my current major’s future career, Agricultural and Environmental Education. I am taking an introduction to programming class. I like it a lot because it involves a lot of logic. It’s easy to get help for education because there is a lot of tutoring out there.
Herry Li, Freshman at UC Berkeley
“I believe in myself that I could survive here.”
College is a new level of education beyond high school; in other words, it is definitely going to be more challenging than high school. You may think that it is a piece of cake to get straight A’s at SFIHS, but college is completely a different game. The heavy workload of the enormous amount of readings and writings seriously caught me off guard. Readings were more abstract and more academic, and the grading rubric for an essay is stricter. Plus, I had to go to my Spanish class at 8 am every day in my first semester. I thought 8 am would an easy case for me because I had been going to school earlier than 8 am every day since kinder garden. Yet, I was too naïve. 8 am classes in college somehow are more unbeatable than you could imagine.
It sounded a bit terrifying above; though, there are always some goods in my college life. First of all, in college, we can have more control on studying about things that we are really interested in. It is absolutely enjoyable to listen to the things I love lectured by the experts of the subjects. On the other hand, I have met some good friends here at Cal. We can spend time together chilling through chatting, working out, playing sports, partying, or even studying. Personally, I feel more motivated when I can study with a friend. My roommate has become one of my best friends here. At last, Cal has a fantastic campus environment for us to study there. I fell in love with the Doe library at my first sight because it is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous libraries in the world. Although there seems be too many challenges we have to face in college, I believe in myself that I could survive here.