Letter From Princeton: Ana’s First Taste of Academic Life

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Editor’s note: As part of Voice of OC’s youth media program, we will be chronicling Santa Ana resident Ana Maldonado’s freshman year at Princeton University. Some of the dispatches will be based on email correspondence and interviews with Ana; others will be in her own words. Click here to read Ana’s inspiring story.

It seems at Princeton they don’t waste much time with a breaking-in period. Ana Maldonado, during her first week in the prestigious university’s summer program, read 200 pages in two days for her humanities class.

She also wrote an essay for that class and was assigned three problem sets for calculus. Ana’s also getting a taste of other rigors of academic life.

“The Princeton staff scared us about how seriously they take plagiarism,” she said. “I have to literally cite myself if I use something from my own previous essay!”

Aside from all the homework, Ana’s 3,000-plus mile transition from her family’s home in central Santa Ana to New Jersey has been relatively smooth. She had a tearful goodbye with her family and cried on the plane, but her busy schedule has otherwise kept her emotions in check.

“I think I will eventually start missing home,” Ana said. “I can tell that my dad is still sad that I left, especially when he started advising me not to do drugs or do anything bad. Plus, I could hear it in his voice. … But, I think they are doing fine.”

— DAVID WASHBURN

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