How Harvard changed one student’s independence

By: Elian Sanchez


21 year old Andrew Sanchez is a student at Harvard University and part time bike messenger, he currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before his move to college, Andrew attended Whitney Young High School. When he is not in school, he is working as a part time bike messenger for a bike shop near his house.

Elian: Tell me about your high school experience.

Andrew: Well, in high school I was trying to do my best, trying to get the best grades I could because that would lead me into a better college.

Although Harvard was his main objective, Andrew had different colleges in mind just in case Harvard didn’t work.

Elian: What was your reaction when you got your college acceptance letter from Harvard?

Andrew: I was really excited because I didn’t expect to get that high level of achievement. I even felt worried because since Harvard is an Ivy league school, I felt that I wasn’t going to do well in it because it may be to rigorous for me.

Elian: How is Harvard from what you expected?

Andrew: It’s what I expected, it’s hard and rigorous. Right now I have 4 projects, most are due in 2 weeks, you may think it’s enough time but it’s not. I didn’t think I’ll get this amount of projects.

Elian: How do you feel living on your own?

Andrew: It’s okay, it’s what I expected, the only obstacle is just paying the bills but nevertheless it’s nice living on my own.

Elian: What are some difficulties you first faced in your first year in college?

Andrew: Well, getting used to a new environment is hard so that was an obstacle. Another is the way the teacher taught. College is very different from high school, in college you are on your own; nobody forces you to do your work, and you just do it if you want to succeed.

Elian: How is High School and college alike?

Andrew: For starters, high school is giving you a taste in what you’d expect college to be like.  Also, you have to pay student fees in high school, which is basically an allegory for college tuition.

Elian: Do you live far away from college?

Andrew: No not all, I live two streets away from Harvard, plus I ride my bike from and to school so it usually takes me about 6 minutes to get to school or my house.

Elian: Have you ever felt like dropping out?

Andrew: Yes, sometimes handling work, school and paying bill can really stress one out and it surely has done that to me. Sometimes classes can be so difficult that I just don’t want to go, but the thought of giving up and backing away from a college as prestigious as Harvard, just makes me want to go to school and do my best. I do think of dropping out but it doesn’t mean I would do it.

Elian: Have parties ever been a distraction to you?

Andrew: Although I get invited to a lot of parties I don’t like to attend parties because of the dangers that could be made because of it. Once I actually went to a party and most of my friends there had previously told me they had a lot of homework to do the following weekend and they preferred to go to the party instead of doing their work. I don’t want to be like that.

Elian: Have you taken out any student loans?

Andrew: No I haven’t and I really wouldn’t recommend anyone doing so. The reason I say this is because, if after college doesn’t go well, then where are you going to get enough money to pay them back? Luckily I had saved money since junior year in high school, so combined with my money I earn now I do what I can to pay my bills.

Elian: If you had to, would you take student loans?

Andrew: Yes, that’s only if it was an emergency, but now I am debt free.

Elian: Do you feel like you “grew up” since senior year in high school?

Andrew: Yes I do. Most adults will tell you how they miss being a little kid, not paying bills and just having fun but right now i am happy as an adult. I guess if you’re prepared like I am, you won’t have to worry about much.

Elian: How has college impacted you?

Andrew: Well, college has given me more independence because I live in a state far away from home, I have a job, I pay my bills and I go to school. College has definitely changed me by making me more dependent on myself which will have an impact on me in the near future.

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