Chemical and Biological Engineering Major
Certificates in Engineering Physics and Biophysics
Why did you enroll in Integrated Science?
The grandoise idea of integrating all the natural sciences with computer science all linked together with mathematics was what originally intrigued me about the course. When I first saw the email about ISC, I was really interested to learn what the course had to offer and I was convinced I was ready for and needed a challenge once I entered college. I definitely got what I asked for!!!
What was the ISC freshman sequence (ISC231-234) like for you?
It was at first very stressful for me and eye-opening. My physics was not very strong and I found myself self-teaching a lot of the topics during the first semester. I was truly challenged to learn the material as fast as everyone else and I doubted myself quite often in the beginning. Fortunately, I convinced myself to finish the entire sequence by doing the second semester. The second semester was much more enjoyable and manageable for me. The work did not get easier (it definitely did not get easier in my opinion) but I was more mentally equipped to deal with the work load and my physics background had improved considerably. In addition, I had made friends that I could work with and I felt more comfortable in ISC at that point. So overall, my experience, while stressful, was enlightening and definitely fruitful in developing my ability to problem solve, manage my time, and being in more control of how I respond to challenges I face in life.
How have the courses benefited you academically, and has it made you think about what you want to do after you graduate?
Academically, ISC has benefitted me immensely. Never again will I complain about the workload of a class. To me, I have an upper limit, ISC, that I feel will never be matched!! I enter all my classes with a large amount of confidence and a level of calm that is rare to see on campus. I simply possess a lot of faith in myself and what I can accomplish if I fully convince myself I can do it. Stress is a rare inconvenience rather than a frequent occurrence and I can more fully enjoy my Princeton experience as a result. As far as what I want to do after graduation, ISC is directly responsible for what I am interested in studying in graduate school. After ISC, my interest in pure physics and biophysics had increased so much. Now I am interested in studying more physics and biophysics while I am here at Princeton and in graduate school. This is all because ISC showed me the intersection of the natural sciences and how this intersection can be useful and lead to some extraordinary discoveries!!!
How do you like working with the various integrated science faculty and staff?
I felt that the faculty and staff were especially very helpful and open to students. This was especially important for me as a freshman who was somewhat less prepared than the other students in the beginning and felt inadequate. They really encouraged me to do as well as I could and were ready to answer my numerous questions. They taught me the importance of taking a class for learning's sake and not for a grade. Once I did that, I saw that everything else will fall in place where they belong!!! Now it is a philosophy I follow much more faithfully and it works each time.
What is it like going through Integrated Science with a close cohort of student peers?
It was quite a unique experience. We all understood each other's suffering in a way many other students at Princeton cannot even begin to fathom. We knew how hard the class was and we were all very encouraging of each other when something didn't make sense, which was practically everyday. It was comforting to know that if I needed to stay up all night doing a problem set, there were a bunch of people doing the same thing. I remember one time in precept where I was very confused about whatever the preceptor was talking about and I got fed up with being confused and I just asked him in a very fed up voice, "WHY?" To my surprise, everyone started laughing in agreement with me, as they all started expanding on my question. That was when I realized we were actually all very confused and we were all in this confusing experience together trying to learn what seemed to be the impossible! Overall, it was an experience only ISC could produce and I am glad to have had a close group of friends throughout.