MAIL from Smith - Few Important Matters
I hope you’re doing well. I am sure you’re having a good time with your new batch as the ED deadlines approach soon.
I’m very sorry I couldn’t write to you earlier. Whatever time I have after classes, work and extra-curricular activities, I spend it doing homework. I am in an advanced introductory Chemistry course, an accelerated beginner’s French course, an intermediate-level math course and a writing intensive course. Although my chemistry course is introductory, it is for students who have prior background in the subject. Almost the entirety of the syllabus is quantum mechanics so this is a course I have to put a lot of effort into it. You had advised me to use A-level credit to skip the intro courses but upper class people who have used AP/ A-level credits have advised me against using it for Chemistry but I am using it for Biology and Mathematics. It is possible to graduate in 3.5 years because lab science courses have 5 credits so you end up with around 18-19 credits per semester and one needs 16 credits per semester to graduate in 4 years. I also am taking a 200 level Math course, which is Calculus III. For this course, we are looking at problems which have 4 variables and plotting curves with 3 variables in two dimensions.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I regret not finishing a research paper. Almost everyone I have met here has finished a 15-20 pages long research paper as it was a requirement to graduate from their high schools. It does not matter if you’re a STEM major or a social science/humanities major, you’ll have to write equal amounts. For my chemistry lab, I have to write a 6-7 page long lab report for every project. For my Writing Intensive course, I will have written about 40-50 pages by the end of the semester. My Writing Intensive Course is reading intensive as well and the amount of reading I had done in your class was beneficial to me for handling the reading load here. Also, I learnt how to work on several assignments at the same time while working with you. That proved to be a very important skill here.
I applied to be an early student researcher and I got selected. Two first-years will be working on the project. The project is under the BioMath department and I will mostly be working in a Spatial Analysis Lab. I will be analyzing demographic changes in mangrove vegetation in Belize. I am very impressed by the amount of research going on at Smith given how small it is. Even if all students cannot get into research in their 1st year, almost everyone can do research as a sophomore.
I ran for the Senate of Student Government Association and got elected as a representative of my area in the campus. I will be attending the Seven Sister’s conference in Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania on 12th November. I also gave a presentation to the Board of Trustees during their campus visit a few days ago. Students asked for more financial aid from them and I was part of the international student group, which asked for more financial aid for international students. I am also part of the Student Government Curriculum Committee.
Speaking of financial aid, I have found no truth to the statement that Smith is reluctant to give financial aid to international students. I have met many students from different parts of the world who are on a financial aid package similar to mine and I have also met some people, who are not paying anything at all.
Sir, you should encourage every female student of your class to apply to Smith. While academics at Smith is challenging, the academic environment is very supportive. I have never before lived in an environment, which focused so much on health and wellness. Please give my e-mail id to any student who wishes to apply to Smith.
Take care of yourself. Good luck with the applications for Fall’17. I really hope someone from this year’s batch gets into Smith. Hopefully I will see you in summer. I will check in from time to time until then.