Life Before College
Like Josh, I too have an English name—I am half Japanese and half Filipino.
I was born and raised in southern California, where I have lived my entire life. The weather is great—mainly sunny skies and warm temperatures year-round. Even better, the beach is always nearby.
I went to a K-8 school, meaning that I spent nine years with the same 90(ish) classmates. It was definitely an interesting experience to grow up with such a small group of students, but I genuinely believe that it allowed for strong relationships and a sense of camaraderie among us all. I still keep in contact with many of my classmates from there.
Transitioning to high school was a bit of a challenge, however, given that there were now about 600 students in my class compared to the 90 that I had previously. It was weird for me not to know everybody in my class, as I would see new faces each day. Nevertheless, I was fortunate to make several friends throughout my four years, many of who I met through the music program.
In the fourth grade, my school required students to choose between violin, viola, cello, and vocals. Not knowing much about any of the choices, I blindly chose the viola out of process of elimination—I did not want to sing, the violin was too high-pitched, and the cello was too big. Thus, the viola was left. Additionally, I thought it was kind of cool that not many people played the viola (definitely not as much as violin or cello).
Throughout the years, my passion for the viola has grown tremendously, and has allowed me to participate in various ensembles and travel to various places. I started taking lessons in the fifth grade, and ever since then I’ve gotten to play in several orchestras, chamber groups, festivals, and masterclasses across the country. It’s great that I am able to continue playing here at Princeton!
When I entered high school, many of my friends were involved in marching band. Given that I had no band experience, though, I never would have thought that I would be able to join. However, I picked up the baritone horn during my sophomore year, and was even able to become a drum major by my senior year. It was definitely an integral part of my high school experience, having long practices into the night and going to competitions. Being able to put together a field show with such a large group of fellow students was a great spectacle to me, and is one that I’ll remember fondly.
The college search process was definitely a difficult and stressful one. Having only lived in California my entire life, I really only knew about the schools there. I had never been to the east coast, so it was a bit overwhelming to learn about all of the schools out there. Sure, there are a lot of similarities between the things that schools all take pride in—aspects like small class sizes and unique programs offered were all desirable to me. What really stood out to me about Princeton, however, was its tremendous amount of undergraduate emphasis. With about twice the number of undergraduate students than graduate students, Princeton really works to help undergraduates and shower them with care, opportunities, and resources.
Speaking of opportunities and resources, Princeton has one of the best financial aid programs in the nation, which was truly an attractive asset about the school. I also liked the idea of having a Junior Project and Senior Thesis, which serve as opportunities to delve into independent work with advising from professors. I could go on and on about what I love about the school, but something that I really want to note from my short time here is the amount of attention you receive from faculty, professors, and fellow students. From academic advisers to peer advisers, everybody is making sure that you’re doing well and that you have all of your questions/concerns answered. You get several advisers to talk to about anything, which is certainly very comforting as you make your way through college.
On a less academic-heavy note, Princeton is also only a short train ride to both New York City and Philadelphia!
That’s it for now!
Thank you for reading! Enjoy this TED-Ed video that observes music with a scientific lens (both topics I love learning about)!