Author: Brite Chuang

A Simple Hack to Improve Your College Experience: Get Involved!

Brite with her two Collegiate Health Service Corps site volunteers, Radha (middle) and Mehak (right).
Brite with her two Collegiate Health Service Corps site volunteers, Radha (middle) and Mehak (right).

College is the land of opportunity. Although everyone who attends has the same goal of walking away with a degree, academics are only a small portion of the experience. There are over 300 student-run extracurriculars you can choose from, including Undergraduate Philosophy Society, 3D Printing Club, and even UConn Kendo, a Japanese sport that uses bamboo swords to spar. It’s not difficult to discover new interests and find your own niche.

I began my college career trying out different activities. For me, getting involved with Community Outreach has been a very life-changing experience. It is a student-run volunteer organization that coordinates various programs to work with local underserved populations. Some are one-time or weekend service events, while others are semester-long programs that fall under one of the three categories: youth development and education, health, and language learning and literacy. I am currently a site leader for Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC) and Windham Hospital Volunteer Program. Out of the two, CHSC has impacted me the most. Every semester, teams of three are assigned to specific local populations to teach health topics to, where each team has the freedom to design their own lesson plans and incorporate interactive activities.

Back in fall 2016 when Windham Hospital spelled Brite's name wrong and she had to wear it for two weeks.
Back in fall 2016 when Windham Hospital spelled Brite’s name wrong and she had to wear it for two weeks.

Last fall, I was assigned to Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic where the population was primarily homeless. Now, I work with tree farmers at Prides Corner Farms in Lebanon. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows volunteers to become more socially aware by interacting with populations that they are not usually exposed to. Before I joined Community Outreach, I was involved in many scientific research labs and pursuing a lab research career. Now that I have found my passion in community-based volunteering, I want to continue a similar line of work in the future, collaborating closely with communities to establish and improve preventative healthcare measures. Next year I will be serving as CHSC’s program director, where I am motivated by the possibility of improving the program and creating more meaningful experiences for everyone involved – just as it has done for me in the past.

Volunteering as a part of my college experience helped me discover a new passion – this is why extracurriculars are so crucial to your college experience. After graduation, there will be less opportunities to explore potential passions and careers. Start completing your college experience now and literally change your life!

Maintaining Your Artistic Passions at UConn

My latest painting
My latest painting

As a child, I had a hyperactive imagination. Maybe it was because I was always around my mischievous neighborhood friends, running around and lighting piles of leaves on fire, or maybe it was because I played with dinosaur and Pokémon toys instead of Barbies like most other girls my age. What I do know is that ever since my mother taught me how to hold a pencil when I was two, I have always loved the arts – it was a way for me to channel my ideas. I remember spending hours upon hours sprawled on the carpeted floor with my bucket of crayons, drawing epic battles between griffins and giant lizards and every fantasy scenario that I could imagine.

Music is also another one of my greatest passions. I always keep it playing in the background no matter what I’m doing – homework, striding across campus to class, or just getting ready for the day. Depending on my mood, my music taste fluctuates. When I want to feel energetic, I listen to heavy metal and techno, and if I want a relaxing environment, I go for classical and musical soundtracks. I also learned to play piano on my own after many years of lessons, learning new songs in my free time. I tend to play classical pieces with a sad tones like Chopin’s nocturnes, because Continue reading

Adventure Time in Taiwan

This was where my internship took place.
This was where my internship took place.

Everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief after senior year of high school when those endless rounds of SATs have passed and college applications are finally done. Shortly after I started college, however, I realized that high school senior year was just the tip of the iceberg. Like so many others, I was juggling a job, extracurriculars, and scholarship applications on top of classes. I was also constantly searching for internships to immerse myself in the real world – this required the most persistence, but my efforts paid off in the end.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to earn a place at National Taiwan University through a professor there who was also an old family friend. From mid-May to the end of July, I worked as an intern in one of their labs, helping to investigate genetic causes of prostate cancer. During my free time, I wandered off on my own around Taiwan, exploring popular landmarks and eating everything the country had to offer – all of which was a nice break from college life. Although I frequently visited Taiwan as a child, I never fully appreciated my visits until this summer when I was mostly on my own. Here are some major highlights: Continue reading