College Corner: Interview with Lin Gyi, Class of 2009

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Having experienced a college corner interview myself one year ago as the lucky freshman who got to spill her inner hopes and dreams (read: opinions on Sharples) to a Gazette writer, I was only too happy to be a part of another one. In spite of the obnoxious humidity and disturbing cloud of mosquitoes hanging around Wharton courtyard, Lin Gyi, ’09, graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Daily Gazette: Forgive me for asking, but how YOU doin’?
Lin Gyi: (laughs) I’m okay; a bit nervous, I won’t lie, because of classes starting. But I am enjoying myself.

DG: And where are you from?
LG: Meadowbrook, PA, which is forty minutes from campus, but I was born in Myanmar. When I was eleven months old, my dad sponsored my mom and me to leave and we moved to England, where we lived for six years. I’ve been in America for the past ten years, and just got my citizenship about two months ago.

DG: Did you move straight to Pennsylvania from England?
LG: First we were in Virginia with friends of the family, then we moved to the Cheltenham district. I graduated from Abington Senior High School.

DG: How big was your high school?
LG: My graduating class had five-hundred-fifty-eight, or something like that. The total number of students I think was eighteen-hundred.

DG: So you’re downsizing coming to Swat?
LG: There’s not too much difference [in size] between high school and Swarthmore.

DG: What did you think of orientation?
LG: It was a really good experience. I felt that sometimes a lot of info came really fast and I didn’t have the time to process it. It was nice to meet the class of ’09-the people I met at Ride the Tide unfortunately did not come to Swat. The best part of orientation was meeting my hall and getting to know them. There was also one of my favorite movies, “The Usual Suspects.”

DG: So you like your hall?
LG: Yes, I do. I have the advantage of living at the end of the hall in a quad, and right next to it is a boys’ quad and we all hang out a lot. Sometimes we just talk, or share all the food our parents brought.

DG: Well then, what do you think of the Sharples experience?
LG: Oh, the Sharples experience.I had gone through it at Ride the Tide. It’s intimidating to go by myself, so I usually wait for my roommates. Some say it’s crowded, and some say the food’s bad, but I don’t mind.

DG: What is the best part of Swat so far?
LG: The people. The upperclassmen, [the students in] my year, the professors, even the people through admissions-I love the SAM system, I love my RA.I feel like I belong here.

DG: So was that part of the reason why you came to Swat?
LG: Yeah, it was that reason; the people. Also there was just enough of a challenge academically. I didn’t want a huge school where I would get lost in the masses. As lame as it sounds, it feels like a community here. My roommate has this saying, “this isn’t an Ivy League, but it’s a potted ivy.” I’m not sure what that means, but it’s a cute phrase.

DG: I think so too. How about classes?
LG: I’m taking Bio 1, Chem 10, Chinese Literature in Translation with Berkowitz, and the English first-year seminar of Jane Austen: Cultural Critic.

DG: What are your interests, academic and otherwise?
LG: Academically, I’m considering a bio major and a minor or even a double major in English Literature. Otherwise, I want to get into the community service scene-I’m really interested in the Chinatown Tutorial-and different international clubs like SAO, and I guess, the international club. At the activities fair I saw taiko, which I always wanted to try. During the year I hope to make it back home to keep up my kendo so I won’t get rusty.

DG: Oh, how long have you been doing kendo?
LG: About two years. I’m a red belt.

DG: Now what’s something the people wouldn’t really know about you?
LG: If you don’t know me, I come off as reserved, but I have this dry sense of humor, I’m a little sarcastic.I’m a chill person and I do silly things. It’s very easy to make me laugh. Oh, and I’m a nut for music and movies.

DG: Did anything surprise you about Swat when you came here?
LG: Not really.I’ve been to campus so many times.I knew this was a friendly campus, but I didn’t expect EVERYONE to be friendly. They take kindness to another level here. Even though it’s intense, there’s no cutthroat competition. Everyone helps each other through the “terrordome.”

DG: All right, they asked me this last year, so I can’t resist. What’s your favorite word?
LG: (laughs) This is difficult.The first word that comes to mind is”sandwiches,” but that’s an inside joke. I guess “saucy.”

DG: Okay, what’s your least favorite word?
LG: Can it be a sound that people make? “Heh.” It’s a pseudo-laugh, which also happens to be one of my pet peeves. I think that when you laugh, you should go the whole way, instead of being like, “I should laugh, but I won’t. Heh.”

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