Princeton University Cohort
What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?
I used to be a confident student, maybe too confident because I never did homework but still managed to get decent grades. After encountering a suicide-vehicle-borne IED in 2006 while in Afghanistan, I found learning to be a challenge. I struggled with comprehension, retention, and memory issues. In the years since I had to relearn how to learn, and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to join WSP. I knew that if I could make it through the week-long intensives, I would be more confident about returning to school full-time.
Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?
The WSP virtual experience was great considering it was virtual! The fellows and professors were so organized and everything was streamlined. They had whiteboards, scratch pads, and being able to share screens was key! The use of Google Drive, Zoom, and the various tools made everything easier.
Why were you excited to participate in WSP?
I love learning and I looked forward to spending time with other veterans who have the same goals and dreams. I knew we’d all connect easily, and develop a support network to cheer us on throughout our educational pursuits.
What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?
The biggest thing I learned was that despite everything I’ve forgotten and all of the learning issues I’ve struggled with since my TBI, I can take classes I thought were impossible for me like Physics and higher-level math. I know how much effort I need to put in but even better than that, I know how to leverage the school’s resources to work smarter and be successful. My STEM week at Princeton was very challenging but thanks to the WSP fellows who never gave up on me when I wanted to, the experience helped me find my confidence. . . and that is priceless.
What were you looking forward to learning during STEM week?
During WSP’s Princeton STEM week, I was looking forward to learning about STEM in general. I’ve always understood it conceptually but had never considered what it would mean to pursue the field. More than anything, I wanted to push myself in subjects that were intimidating to someone who moved around a lot growing up like Physics and HARD math! 🙂
What research project did you work on, and what did you learn from that experience?
Our team worked on using Python programming to evaluate data to see if we could glean information for research purposes. We learned the basics of Python and how to write code that could give us various data results. It was informative and interesting.
Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?
I cannot pick just one because every one of them spent time supporting and encouraging me through the hardest parts of the homework. The fellows all rotated the study rooms to make sure we were all progressing. If I didn’t understand something, I could ask multiple fellows who had different styles in explaining and teaching. Hearing something described a different way helped solidify my understanding of the more complex problems and helped me remember. Most people probably don’t need this but with my brain injury, I do. I absolutely love each and every one of them. I cannot emphasize enough how great they are. I will forever be grateful to Dan L., Ana V., Michael B., Dylan P., Logan A., and Patrick H.
Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?
Yes, of course. Not only am I more confident in going back to school but I’m also more confident that I can do more than I believed I could.