ACP Alumnus Solika Nhean: Life in New York City


New York City has always been one of the greatest metropolitan areas on the globe, and one of our own 2019 graduates has been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to study there. Solika Nhean, who graduated in May, is studying psychology and medicine at the Pace University New York City campus. A very sweet and kind person, Solika was our co-editor for The Knight Times last year while finishing her senior year at Erie.

I contacted Solika recently to ask her how university and New York have been and found it the perfect opportunity to question her about college on behalf of our seniors. Solika, of course, wholeheartedly agreed:

Solika with her mother at Pace University in New York City. Photo courtesy of Solika Nhean.

Q: What motivated you to choose psychology and medicine?

A: I am a psychology pre-med student, and I decided on this path because psychology is an area I am very fascinated by and enjoy learning more about. I never find myself bored when it comes to analyzing the different concepts and studying it. Additionally, I ended up on the medical route due to my gradual interest in medicine and its different foundations, especially how different medicines affect the chemical reactions in our brain and how new forms of medical treatments can be found to help improve how we can treat illnesses and disorders we still don’t know much about.

Q: Is it difficult being so far away from home?

A: I will say that I had a hard time moving away from home, as NYC is across the country from Arizona, and I still get homesick even now. It was definitely a difficult process to adjust to life in a completely different city.

Q: How has college been like so far? Is it what you expected or completely different? How so?

A: College is a very different experience from high school, that much I will say. Attending college in the beginning was definitely different from anything I was expecting, and although I’m not sure exactly what I thought it would be like, I found myself very surprised at how unique the system was.

Photo courtesy of Solika Nhean.

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of going out of state?

A: One of the benefits of going out of state is the freedom, both in schools and your personal life. You’re in a new place, where you can make choices and sometimes make mistakes without pressure or judgment that you can possibly face from people you know. Additionally, you are immersed in a completely new culture that is very different from what it is like in AZ. I find being able to experience how the people in a state outside of your own interact with one another can be beneficial to the formation of your character and opinions.

Q: What do you miss the most about ACP?

A: I miss my teachers most of all. They have supported me through hard times and encouraged me to not only be a better student, but a better person, too.

Q: Any college advice for our seniors?

A: First, expect the anxiety for your first day of college and let it happen. It is completely normal to be nervous and unsure about what class will be like or how a professor will behave. Understand that it most likely will happen but don’t let it over-rule you. College is different but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.

Photo courtesy of Solika Nhean.

Second, use to check out your teachers. It is a very helpful tool that will allow you to know what to expect from your instructors, which is a tip you should use in order to succeed.

Thirdly, it is okay to miss a class or be a little late sometimes. I know I shouldn’t be encouraging bad attendance and I’m truly not. However, in my first week of college, I got terribly sick and missed some of my classes as a result. I’ve occasionally been a few minutes late to class because the elevators are always overcrowded and slow. My professors rarely acknowledge if I come in late and are very understanding if I have a legitimate excuse for not showing up to class. Essentially, I’m saying not to stress over attendance. It is important to show up to all your classes but sometimes circumstances happen and it’s okay. Also, time management is KEY. College classes aren’t structured like high school classes. Sometimes your classes are back-to-back and other times you have a three-hour buffer. Know how to use the time you have available wisely, and I guarantee you will succeed. Lastly, no, you don’t have to raise your hand to use the restroom.

A huge thank you to Solika for taking the time to give us an insight to the life of a college freshman. Good luck in your studies and hopefully we’ll get to see you at ACP when you visit! We miss you!