PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Top Achievers 2012

Sarah Wendel has a way with words

With a knack to write and a love to read, Sarah Wendel, 18, a graduate of Golden Sierra High School, is well on her way to a degree in English as she attends UC Davis.

“The English department at Golden Sierra was fantastic,” she said. “I really felt like English was what I was good at and I wanted to pursue it. My English teacher was a big part of that.

“All four years were fantastic for me,” she added.

Although she is thankful for the Top Achievers scholarship, she still doesn’t know why she won as she wasn’t very active in school sports or extracurricular activities. She did however write a book, which she is trying to get published, and in her senior year participated in the literary magazine, did Odyssey of the Mind and volunteered at the animal shelter.

And what about coming from a small school to a large college?

“It’s vastly different from Golden Sierra,” she said. “There are, I think, more people in my dorm than were in my graduating class. It’s definitely bigger. It’s different being away from home. The biggest thing is the size. I have to bike probably five to 10 minutes to any one of my classes where at Golden Sierra I would walk.”

Students don’t know the teachers personally which is a little strange, she added.

“If you do want to know your professor on a first-name basis, you’re going to go out of your way and go to office hours,” Wendel said. “I’m sure the experience would be different coming from a large school but coming from Golden Sierra the size is probably the biggest culture shock.”

She said after taking it all in the first quarter, Wendel is looking for a club to join.

“I do stuff right now like hanging out with people in the dorm which is always fun because there is always someone to hang out with,” she said.

Wendel also said her schedule varies — some days she is up by 9 a.m. for classes at 10 and on some days she will be out by 1 p.m. but those times can vary depending on what class and class-related activity she is doing.

“I think college is different because it focuses to us in class and there’s a lot more homework,” she said. “It really depends on how much you want to push yourself.

“Take challenging classes,” she advised to those considering college. “Don’t stress out about getting straight A’s in all of your advanced placement classes. Really challenge yourself and don’t stress out about being well-rounded and perfect.”

Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa

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