David Zarrin

1. What is it like going to school at Berkeley?
I took several reading classes first semester, and had a great time. I frequently find myself using some of the techniques you taught me: mostly trying to draw a picture of what is actually going on, and imagining what the author is really saying using visuals. This technique forces me to pay attention and not mindlessly "read". I think one of the most important things I remember you teaching me was the day before the SAT, you encouraged me keep my self criticism at bay while learning. I was lucky to hear that advice from you at a young age. I have found forgiving myself when engaging in a challenging activity is absolutely necessary. If not for this, studying wouldn't be much fun for me because I'd allow the challenge of learning to send my mood south.

2. Is college reading more challenging than high school reading? Why or why not?
Less challenging. There are fewer timed tests where I had to read a passage and immediately answer questions. I find that format the most difficult. I instead would read an entire article (which was frequently more abstract and more difficult to follow), and then think a while and write some form of response to it.

3. What’s your favorite reading from this year and why? (You don’t need to choose a book you read in class.)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as written by Alex Haley. It provided me great insight into the difference between Western Muslims, and Muslims in other parts of the world. Malcolm X was a passionate person who changed dramatically through his life, and I found it interesting to understand how is experiences influenced him.

4. Is college writing more difficult than high school writing? Why or why not?
This ties in with my answer to two. The readings themselves, however, are frequently harder because they are more abstract. We have more time to process them however, so it is manageable.

5. What’s your most memorable writing moment from this year?
I wrote a paper about Iranian Immigration and learned a lot of new things about my Dad's home country. I didn't know the details of the revolution, how Iranians and the world reacted to it, and who took which side during the conflict.

6. Looking back at your HS writing experience (in school and with IYE), is there anything you wish you had learned or learned to do better?
I found the material high school taught me to be insufficient, but IYE filled in things I needed such as the mechanics of the sentence. I remember the workbook where we would draw sentence diagrams. It forces me to write sentences with more active verbs, and fewer passive verbs.

7. What’s the coolest college experience you’ve had so far (that you wouldn't mind your parents hearing about)?
My suitemates and I along with a few other friends (six guys in total) woke at 3 am to travel to San Francisco via public transport and run a half marathon at 7 am one Saturday morning. I was partially injured, and had to slow down at the second mile. The other five got ahead of me. I managed to continue running, driven by the desire to keep my "never have not finished a race" streak alive. In the end, two of my buddies got lost and I finished ahead of them (all of our times were terrible). It was a fun race because several of us had different obstacles besides the course to overcome, but all six of us still finished despite not training for the race at all. It makes for a great memory.

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