First-year Follow Follow-up

| May 4, 2012

As promised, we checked in periodically with the four students we profiled last fall to see how their first year at Sweet Briar went. Megan, Rani, Rosie and Sixtine reported more ups than downs over the past two semesters, and each looks forward with excitement to an even busier and more fulfilling sophomore year.

Megan Kelly, Cascade Senior High School, Everett, Wash.
Megan recently made her double major in German and International Affairs official. She also took a directed-study Korean language course with Professor John Goulde, which she sees as a good fit for her plans to pursue education and refugee work. Megan applied for several scholarships to study abroad in Korea next year, and when we last spoke was waiting to hear about them.

She’s stayed busy lifeguarding for the Vixens and the Amherst County High School swim team, but found time to help start up the Sweet Potters, a Harry Potter club that hosts the occasional quidditch match. She is the vice president of the Environmental Club and, when we spoke to her, was running for that office with the German Club. If she’s not in Korea next year, she will live in Randolph on the Eco Hall.

Megan says it took a while, but managing schoolwork, finding a social life, even adjusting to a roommate, all fell into place. After the first semester, she made a conscious effort to attend events on campus and make friends.

“With these new friendships I am actually really busy socially. So between friends, events and homework I am actually working now to make ‘me’ time.”

EunYong “Rani” Jang, Pyeongtaek International Christian School, South Korea
Rani viewed her first year as an exploration, an opportunity to discover new interests and passions. “I want to see what I am truly passionate about and what I am truly good at,” she told us.

This thoughtful approach was part of her decision to attend a liberal arts college and she appreciates the supportive environment she has found at Sweet Briar.

“I am positively shocked by the faculty and the administrative staff’s efforts to help students with all their best,” Rani says. “After listening to some of my friends’ experiences who went to big state universities, I am glad I chose Sweet Briar.”

Rani quickly developed a circle of friends — last fall we dropped in on a dinner party jamming to “K-pop” music and sampling her authentic Korean cooking. She is her class treasurer, but otherwise hasn’t joined any clubs, so she is looking forward to being more involved in the College’s co-curricular life next year.

She says she is generally now more focused on defining her future plans. She has been busy researching internships in Korea for the summer, as well as scholarships to study abroad her junior year.

Rosalie Purvis, homeschooled, Montgomery City, Mo.
Rosie’s year went pretty much according to plan — a good plan being essential when you’re training to be an Olympic athlete. She remains determined to pursue her degree in engineering, loves the classes, and has been working for Professor Hank Yochum in his optics lab to gain experience. Next year she hopes to earn credit for the work.

In November Rosie competed in the Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then went to Colorado over the winter break for a Modern Pentathlon World Cup qualifier. She made the cut, and competed for the Cup in Charlotte, N.C., in March.

Although the World Cup was a qualifying event for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Rosie’s sights are set on Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“I had personal bests in all of my events, which was very exciting,” she says. “This is the best I have done in an international competition yet. I was able to see where I stand compared to the best athletes in the world — which means numerous Olympians. My training is definitely on the right track.”

Modern pentathlon includes events in fencing, swimming, riding, and combined running and pistol shooting.

Sixtine Abrial, attended Princess Anne High School for International Baccalaureate diploma, Virginia Beach, Va.
Sixtine excelled academically during her first two semesters and she has a particularly busy summer ahead of her. First, it’s off to NATO headquarters in Brussels, where she has lined up an internship to work with professional international conference interpreters. It is her ambition to be an interpreter, and this is her chance to try her hand at it.

In June, she heads to England for the Virginia Program at Oxford.

Pursuing her love of languages, Sixtine declared her major in German in the spring, while considering a second and possibly third major in French and history. “I’m going to talk to the interpreters at NATO and see what they recommend,” she says.

Socially, she says there’s a lot to do. “It’s just a matter of not worrying about homework for a few hours.”

As for the absence of men on campus, “it gave me the opportunity to focus on my academics, get used to college life and take time to settle in,” she says.

And there are the weekend trips to the Virginia Military Institute, she points out. “Problem solved!”

Sixtine applied for transfer to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland because her parents are moving back to France from Virginia Beach this summer. She learned in March that she doesn’t have to go.

“I’ll not be transferring to St. Andrews, which means I’ll be staying at Sweet Briar College, which I am really, really, really happy about, actually!”

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Category: Summer 2012