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The Quest Scholars Network Blog

I wish I knew how to shave...

The year is over. I'm currently attempting to unwind from my classes and yet I can't help but feel the need to raise my hand whenever someone asks me a question. I have to say, I've had quite the experience at Oberlin, and while I'm extremely happy to be here, there are obviously things that I wish I knew beforehand, that maybe would have made life easier. Things such as:

You will probably lose a good amount of the friends you make at orientation, and it's fine.

I was a weird case. I had to be at Oberlin for almost half a week before orientation because of my community service scholarship program, so I had already bonded with 14 other students that were part of the program in my year. One of the members was also a Quest Scholar that I had met back in April when we both visited campus. I knew that I was lucky that I already had a group of friends to navigate this scary and exhilarating time with, but I also. . . Read More

Hi! I'd like to share with you all a book recently published by Derek Lidow, Princeton University professor and alumnus, Startup Leadership. Professor Lidow currently teaches the "Entrepreneurial Leadership" and "Creativity, Innovation, and Design" courses at Princeton. I took the former while I was still a student and sincerely believe it is one of the most influential courses I have taken at Princeton. The concepts of the course are now accessible to all in his book "Startup Leadership."

Also, I'm a Quest Scholar from the 2006 class (sorry, I'm old), but new to this site! If you have any questions about school, career, etc., feel free to reach out via email - :)

Sunrise on the beach on one of my all-nighters

Whenever people ask me why I chose to come to Northwestern, I always mumble something along the lines of "strong Econ program, sister's close by, etc. etc." but never really know what I'm supposed to say. How was I supposed to know how I was going to feel at NU?

Now that I'm here, though, I can definitely point out some things that make NU really unique. First off, the campus is literally right next to Lake Michigan. At any given moment, you are at most a 5 minute walk from the lake and a 10 minute walk from a beach. This means that during the fall/spring you can have picnics on South or North beach, and in the winter you can go on expeditions on the tundra that used to be South or North beach.

Northwestern is also really unique/infamous for its architecture. One of our satire magazines posted an article titled something like: "President Schapiro (our president) approves decision to remodel all. . . Read More

If you ever find yourself wondering exactly what there is to do in the small town of Northfield as a college student, you may be surprised to learn that even though huge music stars don't visit and hold concerts every week, we do have a good share of enjoyable pastimes to choose from. You can join the modern dance company (Semaphore) and go to the Office of Intercultural and International Life's (OIIL) monthly Chili Night during which discussions on things such as Affirmative Action are held. You can also join the Archery Club, tutor high school students, take half-hour weekly music lessons, have access to practice rooms with pianos in them even if you are not a music major, and go listen to a student band on a Friday night at The Cave (the first student-run pub in the nation!).

The Cave orientation during New Student Week

Carleton also has interesting traditions that add to the long list of pastimes available for every student. One of my favorites is Late. . . Read More

A special thank you to my loving, encouraging and overall fierce Wellesley African Student Association (WASA) family for supporting me through my first year at Wellesley!

At the beginning of first semester, I had dinner with a dear friend at a restaurant in Boston. We talked about several things: school, life, and our mutual love of watching YouTube wedding videos. Our conversation eventually veered to a lesson I’ve since kept close to my heart. She simply told me, “You’ve got to be nice to yourself… ” and I can honestly say I’ve never needed that advice more than this year. College is a challenging experience, especially during the first year. Not only are you adjusting to a new environment, new people and a new-found freedom, but you’re also adjusting to a new academic environment that demands excellence. Here are a few lessons that have helped me through my freshman year:

  1. Forgive yourself.
    Sometimes you study hard and you work hard, but things do not turn out as planned. It’s important to acknowledge that you’re human. Yes, you may make mistakes and have disappointments, but have faith that. . . Read More

Life is a series of narrowing choices. We choose to go to College A over College B. We choose to study subject 1 over subject 2. We eventually live, work, and surround ourselves with people which are all outcomes of the choices we made along the way. Dr. Jennifer Golbeck's research at MIT involves drawing (often strange) conclusions based on social network data. One of her famous outcomes is that if you like the Facebook page for curly fries, you are most likely a very intelligent person. What this data suggests is not that delicious fried potatoes will somehow make you smarter, but rather that people who are similar will tend to like similar things and much like a virus network, spread their ideas and opinions to people who think similarly to them. All it took was one smart person to like the page for curly fries in order for it to spread.

But what do curly fries have to do with choosing a college major? Life. . . Read More

One of my favorite pictures from an excursion in Wicker Park

I'm writing this having just came back from seeing a friend and my sister at the University of Chicago (about a 1hr 45 minute trip away). I've thought a lot about how lucky I am to have these people so close by, and though it is true that I am very lucky, I think I would have been OK otherwise.

Northwestern is pretty nice in that it's right next to Chicago, but also in its own smaller town, providing a pretty large range of options for things to do. Throughout my first year I've sometimes felt like school and school-related activities were my entire life. It's pretty easy to get caught up in everything that you are doing, and I hadn't had a chance to leave Evanston for almost a month before last night. When I left last night, I became suddenly aware of the fact that Northwestern is just a 1.5 mile strip of buildings, and that there is so much else going on around me that I'm not a part of. Being. . . Read More

It’s ironic that I decided to talk about mental health at the end of one of the most brutal weeks of my freshman year. But I also feel blessed to be given the opportunity to just speak my mind about an issue so close to my heart.


I think I averaged about 1 to 2 hours of sleep every night this past week. And I am so exhausted that I’m falling asleep as I write this reflection, waking up to a random letter pressed repeatedly on my word document.

It’s not that I have a lot of work. In fact, I probably have less work than most people. I just delay starting it, or I start it, but close it halfway and start something else, a horrible habit of mine.

Not sleeping has definitely played a toll on my body and my being. I’m too exhausted to converse and too exhausted to think. I feel like I’m just dragging a soulless body. But other times I feel nothing. I’m perfectly happy and smiling. It’s this juxtaposition that confuses me. . . Read More