Looking back on my first year at Mudd

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As the semester comes to an end, I look back at my first year here at Mudd and cannot help but be grateful for my experience so far. Orientation feels like it happened ages ago, and it feels like I’ve known my closest friends here for years. 

Coming from an international high school, with a curriculum different from the United States’, it definitely took some adjustment to the academic environment the first weeks. Although I had to do extra work to catch up on the topics that I was not as familiar with that my classmates already knew, they were all very helpful and supportive. I also found a great resource in the tutors from Academic Excellence and the professors. Despite the difficulty of the classes and content, I feel that this past semester I have learned more than ever before, and feel satisfied with the way that I have been academically challenged. 

Another aspect that I’ve enjoyed about Mudd is its community. Since my first days here, I have felt that all of the students, professors, and staff are very friendly and welcoming. I feel that I have made friends that will remain in my life for years to come. 

Selfie of a group of freshmen
Some friends and I at a 5C Party! Photo Credit: Jee-In Kwon

Something that I struggled with more than I expected was homesickness. I found myself missing home, family, and friends more often than I thought I would. Some ways that I have learned to manage this is by cooking food from home or calling friends and family. I have also found that it is helpful to talk and share my feelings with other international students who are likely going through similar experiences than mine. Meeting other students in the 5C’s from Peru and other Latin American countries has also helped me form a community that I can rely on. 

The experience of moving out of my house to live on campus has had both positive and negative impacts. Mudd is a small campus, and the dorms are no more than 10 minutes of walking away from the academic buildings. This has made it easy for me to transport myself to classes (especially the ones at 8am!) and has allowed me to focus more time on my studies as everything is within a close distance.

A sunset over trees
Mudd campus can be beautiful too! Photo Credit: Miski Nopo

On the other hand, since everything is so close by, I have felt on occasions that I am stuck in an area of small radius (especially in contrast to previously living in a big city with 10 million habitants). To combat this feeling, I have thankfully been able to explore the areas surrounding campus, including other zones of LA, the nearby mountains, and national parks in the region. Short day trips (or overnight ones) like these have helped me clear my mind, and explore areas in Socal. 

Trees weighed down by snow.
We went to see the snow on the hills near Mudd during February. Photo Credit: Miski Nopo

Now I am nearing the end of my first year, studying hard for my final assessments this upcoming week. It is easy to get caught up with studies and campus life, but overall I would consider this to have been a year of development. I have learned a lot in the academic side, explored the ways of learning and studying that best match with me, and learned so many new things CS, math, and the world. I have also grown from meeting many new wonderful people in a new environment, and learning to live independently. I am excited to continue learning and growing in my remaining 3 years at Mudd. 

This blog was written by Miski Nopo '26. Intended major: Physics. Lima, Peru.