Welcome back to our new series Interview With A College Student! This week I am sharing an interview with Vanessa Lopez a student from Harvard University who runs an amazing blog for all my followers who love science called Vibrant Science. Vanessa gave so much great advice in this interview so I hope you find it useful.
Name: Vanessa Lopez
Major: Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
What made you decide to attend college?
I never really had another option. I was told that I needed to go to college from a young age but was never told how to get there, so I turned to the internet to help me in my college application process during high school. In high school, I was one of the top students every year and that made the administration and teachers keep an eye on me to make sure I intended to apply to great schools.
What has been the best memory of your collegiate life thus far?
I know that my best memory will be from my study abroad experience this upcoming fall, but if I had to choose from the past two years, I would say it would be my very first Harvard Yale football game. All of the Harvard students traveled to Yale and I hadn’t left Massachusetts at the time yet, so that was fun to get out of the Harvard bubble. I’d also never before felt such spirit from the school and it reminded me of games back home in Texas where there is much school spirit and pride at every football game. The combination of reminding me of home and getting to explore away from campus led to it being my best memory so far. We also won that game!
What is the best piece of advice you have for incoming freshman?
My biggest piece of advice would be that it is okay to quit things. I was brought up on the notion that quitting was never an option and that if I committed to something I needed to stick to it. However, in college, I realized that sometimes quitting is the only way to retain your sanity. Most freshmen will join a ton of clubs and commit themselves to many activities on top of their school work and jobs and that is okay. Freshman year is the time to explore all your options and learn what really interests you. Moving forward, however, these same students need to understand that letting go of something you started and weren’t that into after all is completely fine. It is okay to cut back on things in order to keep your mental health in check and your stress levels healthy.
What organizations are you involved in?
Her Campus Harvard, Science Club for Girls, I volunteer at a homeless shelter with a group called Y2Y, and a cultural pre-professional organization called Latinos in Health Careers.
What is your best study tip?
Condense, condense, condense! I like to review a lecture the same day and try to write out the notes from the lecture in my own words. Then, when it comes to the exam, I will look back on this version of notes and create an even more condensed version for each lecture that will be covered on the exam and create a very condensed little study guide to take with me and study off of. This is helpful for a comprehensive final exam as well because you have already condensed all of your notes down and don’t have to waste time creating a final study guide because you made it over time during the semester!
What is your best tip for surviving living in the dorms/residence halls?
I hate plain white walls, they really stress me out. I also can’t have a lot of room decor because I live on the opposite side of the country from where I go to college, so with limited storage and space, I rely on covering my walls with tapestries! They do wonders for making the room feel like my own even when I’m switching rooms every year. In addition, it’s really easy to find cheap picture frames at thrift stores nearby, so creating a small gallery wall above my bed also helps to make the room feel more home-y and less depressing and I won’t feel bad about having to throw out the frames at the end of the year because they were so cheap!
What is your best tip for sticking to your budget in college?
Limit yourself to one treat a week or every two weeks. A treat can be anything from Starbucks to a shake to a box of Insomnia cookies; all of these little things add up! Limiting yourself will help keep your bank account happy and your health happy at the same time.