Student Spotlight 2023: Angel Sanchez, U.S. Navy

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Pounce, Puerto Rico, and served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. I decided to join the Navy because after graduating high school and getting my associate’s degree I felt pretty lost in terms of life direction. I come from a military family, so I decided to enlist. A fun fact about myself is that I consider myself a jack of all trades but a master of none. I have a lot of hobbies, and I never get bored! One day, I’ll play guitar. The next day, I’ll do photography. The following day, I’ll paint.

Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day?

I learned about WSP during my separation class before leaving the service, and it caught my attention immediately! I’ve had a very interesting academic history, in-person classes for two years, online classes in Japan, and online classes here in California, so I felt very intimidated stepping back into the classroom after six years of service. I did my research on Warrior-Scholar Project and saw nothing but positive feedback and the statistics of veterans succeeding in higher education after attending this course.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little confident going into the humanities and STEM course at Princeton University because I just came off a two-month study program for my nursing license. However, my biggest feeling was intimidation because I hadn’t stepped foot inside a classroom in six years, and there were a lot of conflicting emotions.

On the last day of the course, I felt like I could walk into any classroom on campus, sit down, and excel. This course gave me a newfound confidence! They (the staff) gave me the pride and self-confidence to be part of a growing community of intellectually driven individuals.

What were some key insights you gained during your course, and what is your biggest takeaway?

I’ll answer this question with a story:

On our last night, we had a family dinner at the campus cafeteria, and we were all just reflecting on how much we grew as students and people. The running joke was that we all came for the STEM curriculum and charged through humanities week. Ironically, by the end of STEM week, we were missing doing our essays! Jokes aside, there was a general feeling of accomplishment, pride, and confidence amongst all of us at that dinner table. As we said our goodbyes throughout the weekend, I knew that each and every single one of my colleagues was more than ready to thrive in their academic careers.

The most important thing I learned centered around self-esteem. Growing up, I always told myself that I hated math and that I hated science, but in reality, I think I was just covering up the fact that I was not confident in my academic abilities. I had a negative feeling about academics, and this carried all the way until I earned my associate’s degree. When I had the honor of sitting inside Albert Einstein‘s classroom and learning the basics of relativity, I realized that there’s nothing intimidating about academics. It’s all in my mind. WSP gave me the confidence to push myself. One month after the program, I’m writing this in between studying for my pre-calculus class that starts in two weeks. I would’ve never done that without this program.

In one word, How would you describe your overall experience?

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