We had the opportunity of interviewing Andrew Nyholm, an alum of the University of Pennsylvania and student at California Institute of Technology about: Balancing Life
a former student at the Materials Camp at Drexel University
a former student at the Governor's School for Engineering and Technology at Lehigh University
a former student at Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) at the University of Pennsylvania
a lover of science and sustainability
Here are some important words he shares:
"I wish I knew more about how to ask for help on assignments."
"I like doing work one thing at a time because oftentimes, the best work is done when a certain mindset or perceptive is reached on a project."
" It’s better to just know that different opportunities will come up and you never know everything about a college so something will surprise you."
Q: What did you have to give up in order to reach your goals and pursue your passions?
A: I am not sure if this is giving something up, but I do best when busy and struggle most when not busy. If I were less driven towards these goals, maybe it would be easier to normalize times like these during quarantine when it is acceptable not to be busy and how to prioritize activities when you do have free time.
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew while you were in high school?
A: I wish I knew more about how to ask for help on assignments. In high school, I didn’t need as much help with most of my work. My first semester as an undergrad was definitely a shock and learning experience of how you need to make the study groups and work together to succeed in college.
Q: What was your work ethic? (stay focused, multitask, take breaks, group work, etc.)
A: I am extraordinarily stubborn when I start a project with the need to finish the work in one go. I can forget different assignments which makes an assignment notebook crucial, but I will work on a project consistently until done which often leads to other projects being put on the sidelines.
Q: Do you like to block things out and plan everything out or do one thing at a time? Why?
A: I like doing work one thing at a time because oftentimes, the best work is done when a certain mindset or perceptive is reached on a project. Once I have momentum in understanding or focus, I know I can finish the assignment and will work through the night if need be. Then I don’t need to worry about that assignment again another night.
Q: Whenever you felt like giving up, how did you get yourself motivated again?
A: I think about all the other times I haven’t given up and figure that either this particular hill is not any steeper or taller than the hills that I faced before or that this hill can be the new standard that I’ll end up using later when I need motivation.
Q: Have your passions always been the same as your actions or did you jump around a bit before settling?
A: I committed to sustainable energy early on as a child. I had the advantage of growing up in a very sustainable minded family and being encouraged to pursue what I am passionate about however I want.
Q: What type of role did your family, specifically your father, play in shaping you as a person?
A: My dad taught me hard work, an appreciation for nature, and a dedication towards finishing what you started. I spent a great deal of my childhood outside working with my dad and enjoying the time in the preserve. Whenever I have free time as an undergraduate or graduate student, I spend it outside in whatever nature is accessible.
Q: If you realized you had given yourself too many commitments, how did you determine what to give up?
A: I would think about how leaving that particular role would affect my the rest of the people of the group and how much longer I needed to be over committed before I could leave without disruption. Most of the time, I would stick out the club or team until the end of the season and not continue for the next season in that group.
Q: How do you keep a balanced, healthy lifestyle or are you able to?
A: I like cooking/baking, so those activities help me relax and eat healthy. I also know that I do better when I am physically active and can take a break with the work I am doing. The possibly unhealthy aspect of my life is that these breaks for physical exercise are often in the middle of the night or early AM when I should probably sleep instead.
Q: How do you give yourself time to rest and refresh?
A: If I don’t have time to visit a natural area without work, I will often just grab a book and immerse myself in a world where I don’t need to worry about homework or projects.
Q: Do you have anything else you would like to add? Any final words of wisdom?
A: Don’t set your sights on one college or another. It’s better to just know that different opportunities will come up and you never know everything about a college so something will surprise you.
Learn more about Andrew and his experience on his LinkedIn account.
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