Hey guys! Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. In Thanksgiving’s spirit of smiles and good food (OF COURSE this includes sushi at WashU’s DUC), I thought that the photo above would be a great way to introduce to you all my upbeat and adventurous friend, Spencer Soucy. As promised, I’m keeping up with some of those WashU student interviews. I think her New England charm and candid advice will spark your interest and hopefully answer some of your college questions, too. Enjoy!!!
Name: Spencer Soucy
Major: Global Health and the Environment, Spanish
From: Yarmouth, Maine (near the Portland area)
I’m in a class called Law and Culture with Anthropology professor Kedron Thomas.
She’s just so cool. Professor Thomas is knowledgeable and inspiring and fantastic to listen to. She’s extremely intelligent and great to speak to one-on-one. It was very easy and nice to met with her out of the classroom to talk about the two essays I wrote for her class. Her enthusiasm and the topics we learn about always make me REALLY look forward to going to class every week.
I also really liked the Literature section of my Spanish 201 class last year. (note: introductory courses in the languages generally have 5 day a week classes, split up into two sections: Literature and Grammar). We would usually spend the whole class hour analyzing the story and its themes in Spanish. The stories were fantastic and created interesting, thought-provoking discussions during class.
Favorite spot on campus: I really like Holmes Lounge. It’s so pretty and cozy in there. I used to go for the Holmes carvery warps. I haven’t gone recently, but that’s also because I’m resisting the Holmes wrap urge in my efforts to now stay a vegetarian.
Favorite spot in St. Louis: I love the Central West End, specifically this quaint, four-way intersection where the converging roads are all cobblestones. It’s so charming and it reminds me of the Old Port from my hometown area in Portland, Main a lot.
What are you involved in (Clubs/sports): I just performed in Diwali. My part was in the group ABDC-(which stands for America’s Best Desi Crew). It’s the fusion dance team act for Diwali.
I was also the morale committee for DM (Dance Marathon) this year. It’s a great even at WashU and playing a role in helping the Children’s Miracle Network of the greater St. Louis was extremely fun and rewarding.
A major part of my extracurricular work involves tutoring for our campus’ ESL organization. My ESL student is a very sweet middle-aged man from Mexico. We work on his English, and he gives me a lot of the articles he needs to understand for work. We go over the articles and read them together. He’s so patient and appreciative. I really love him and it’s such rewarding work. Being an ESL tutor has been one of the best things I’ve done here.
Right now, I also just got accepted to be a committee member for the Student Sustainability Fund (SSF), so we review applications and grant people money for sustainable projects.
Something you acclimated to: It’s weird because, for me, coming from the East Coast has made it a little harder see my more-local high school friends. So living in the Midwest has made me acclimate to the St. Louis area and feel more comfortable with calling this place my home.
Another thing I acclimated to was living in Spain for three months last year. I lived with a wonderful host family in Valencia and met some truly amazing people abroad. I’m even friends with my host mom on Facebook! It’s lovely to know that they cared so much about me, and that I will always have a home with them in Spain. And I truly could not have traded my experience in Spain for anything better. If you’re ever living abroad, I suggest living with a host family. There’s something about coming home to a welcoming family that’s heartwarming and causes a great relationship to form with vastly different people—while exponentially improving your language and communication skills at the same!
In terms of academic acclimation, I’ve definitely had some changes in the area of studying. I’ve definitely learned to prioritize my work well for classes in a way that’s very different from high school! College just makes you learn new studying habits that function best for you.
I have a fear of heights, but only when there’s the scare of not having something underneath me. Like free hanging really scares me. But when I was in Costa Rica for a program in high school, I went zip lining on huge lines throughout the Rain Forest. Being so high off the ground, and with just this little rope supporting you was frightening. I don’t know if it’s my greatest achievement, but it was definitely a surreal experience that I was proud of myself for doing. I knew I was safe but didn’t necessarily feel that way. I had this dual feeling of fear and joy—I was both praying to make it to the other side but also hoping the journey across wouldn’t end.
It was so exhilarating and an insane life experience.
There’s still a lot more to accomplish, though. I always wanted to make some large concrete change in the world, but now I realize that achievements don’t have to be as big and monumental as I thought necessary. Rather, I’ve appreciated and admire those small and sincere changes that often go behind the scenes. I think it is those individual headways that measure up to real achievements.
Best WashU event you’ve event attended: Divali and Carnival are awesome, but I think my favorite was the Ashoka formal and wearing a sari. These events at WashU have really made me a more cultural person. I’ve really branched out culturally and have a greater appreciation for different languages. And I’ve picked up a lot of Indian slang along the way!
Favorite movie or book?
I really love the Dark Night. Heath Ledger was the best. The divide between the good and evil, coupled with the actor’s unfortunate real-life death, puts this film on a different level.
The movie has also been monumental in my life because of the impact it had on my host brother. I also couldn’t relate well to my 15-year-old brother. I mentioned to him the movie over dinner with my host family once and he told me how much he liked it, too. Our mutual love for the movie caused us to have an hour-long conversation and bond over our mutual love for Dark Night. On the last night I was in Spain, I found a DVD of the Dark Night bought it for my host brother, and we watched it together that night together in Spanish.
The Power of One. It’s about a kid who lives in South Africa and how he struggles and grows up during this in the 1930s. It speaks a lot about the challenges of being Anglo-African and how he castigated for having white skin.
Helpful hints for future College students or the future WashU Class?
I think that you really need to find a balance. Last semester, I felt like I had a lot of work and didn’t think I had time to have fun, but then I realized I just needed to make time for the things that mattered.
At the same time, it’s important to realize that, maybe unlike high school, you don’t have time to do everything—so you need to pick and choose what you really love to devote time to things that you truly enjoy. Instead of signing up for a bunch of clubs and activities, pick some of the intriguing and solid activities you care about and wish to devote time to, instead of over-extending yourself in extracurricular you’re less passionate and invested in. It may sound cliché, but you really can make time for everything you care about—you just need to find that balance and not devote yourself totally to one thing—whether that be schoolwork, extracurricular, or friends. Follow what drives you and do everything what makes you happy.
A good example of this was when I was very set on changing my major and entering WashU’s Olin School of Business. I decided to take two Summer classes, and found that in the end, I really didn’t love the classes. I realized that I would hate continuing with statistic and finance classes. Although I felt that having a business degree would be very helpful in the workforce, I came to realize there was no real good reason or “economic job guarantee” for me to switch into a school and major that I otherwise didn’t care for. My point is, make choices to pursue a school and major that makes you happy. Taking classes you dread just to get a useful major that you don’t like is not worth it. Find your passion, and then you’ll truly love to follow through with it and succeed.