Reflections on the school year’s end from Ada Comstock Scholars

Tracy Williams, ‘AC18
Contributing Writer

For all Smithies, the ending of the year and the start of summer is welcomed and well-earned. For Ada Comstock scholars, the academic year can also include challenges that traditional-age students usually do not have to deal with. The Sophian sat down with some Adas to discuss the past year and both short-term and long-term plans. 

How has this academic year been going for you?

Cecilia Van Driesche ’AC: I think the phrase ‘stressful-fun’ comes to mind. I’m delighted and grateful for this opportunity to be at Smith and be so challenged and supported.

Maria Wood ’AC17: This year has been challenging and satisfying for me. I had the opportunity to be involved with some activities outside the classroom which were great learning experiences and gave me the chance to get to know students, faculty and administration across the campus. I began to feel more confident (though still stretched and challenged) with my academic work and as part of the Smith community. Solo parenting while being a full-time student has always been tough, and I’ve had some additional family responsibilities to manage this year, and some other difficulties this semester that have drawn my attention further from my classes than I’d have liked. I am really grateful to Smith for support that has helped me to continue my education while still attending to the other parts of my life.

If graduating, what are your feelings about leaving, and do you have any future plans yet?

Gerraldine Tahere ’AC: Yes! It will be my last semester, and tears well up at the thought of leaving this community.

Najwa Alsheikh ’AC16: I am excited to head back to the West Coast, where I am continuing my education at [University of California Berkeley School of Law].

What plans do you have for the summer?

CVD: I’m working in the UMass Sleep, Action and Cognition lab doing research on the role of naptime sleep in preschoolers.

MW: I am way behind the curve on summer plans – I haven’t figured it out yet! I know my daughter will be going to camp for a few weeks, and I will be looking for work and hoping to do some traveling as well, to see family at least.

GT: I am currently working on a Praxis for an internship in Health Promotion looking at group discrimination, women’s reproductive rights and psychosocial determinants of health with the Gandharva community in Kathmandu and Northwestern Nepal before commencing studying Tibetan language at Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s Center for Buddhist Studies in Kathmandu.

NA: We are traveling to Berkeley by driving across the United States with a moving van, a VW bus and a cat!

While most Adas had a challenging year, most felt that the challenges helped them become stronger and smarter students. In terms of future plans, each student has exciting things planned for the future.

Most students felt grateful to Smith for the many opportunities afforded to students. Wood explained this feeling best.

“I am so thankful for my education and for the incredible people I have met here, and who I love so much,” Wood said, adding, “The Ada community and the wider Smith community is full of intriguing, generous, and caring people. I have been and will be close to lots of people in my life, but Smith has given me access to some who are on the same wavelength with me in ways that not many others are. I am immensely grateful for this.”

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