Andrea Llamas Sanchez (Class of ’18), Brown University, Graduating Spring 2022
Degree: Majoring in Computational Biology; Program in Liberal Medication Education
Career Goals: Becoming a surgeon
What has been the biggest surprise about the college experience? There will be people with very different backgrounds. I heard a lot of students talk about culture shock before going to college, and I would agree that it can be jarring. I really loved spending time with other students of color and learning about different cultures. However, the part that was difficult for me was seeing the amount of students who did not work as hard as me to get to the same place. Particularly at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) there are lots of rich students who went to the top schools in the country and abroad and they are considered the standard. I often had to go out of my way to study on background information professors assumed I had. That being said, I still found communities where I felt comfortable. Lots of other people will feel like you 🙂
Most challenging coursework in college: Engineering, math, chemistry intro classes. High-level STEM classes get more interesting and better though.
Accomplishment most proud of: I received an Undergraduate Teaching and Research award the summer after my freshman year in college. I was on the e-board for the National Society of Black Engineers and became a Manager at the Brown Design workshop which is a maker space on campus both during my sophomore year. I switched majors my sophomore year and learned computer science with no previous background and found a part-time job teaching CS later that year. I also secured a full-time job this semester (I am taking a gap year before medical school) which is a big relief before graduating. I am also on the dance team on campus and took up knitting recently 🙂
Can you provide any advice to our current Knights? I spent a lot of time in high school trying to get into college without thinking about what comes after or what I was truly interested in outside of academics/work. In the last few years, I have learned things I actually enjoy doing and I make sure to carve out time to spend with friends. Four years also go by very fast, so take that weird class you wanted to, the school event, club meeting, or whatever you're interested in. After college, the one homework assignment you did poorly on won't matter. Your friends and experiences will. In short, remember that school isn't everything and your happiness matters.
I paid for college with…: Part-time jobs and need-based aid