Pen Pals

Pen Pals

Student Life Officer Elaine Scott Branson asked Sixth College student leaders if they were interested in participating in a pen pal program with fourth grade students from Farr Elementary early fall quarter. The Sixth College Students were each paired up with a fourth grade pen pal and were able to make connections with young children who were incredibly curious about college life and UCSD. The fourth grade students in turn were able to work on their writing skills in a fun and educational way.

Of course I jumped on that opportunity. It sounded like a gratifying program where I could connect back to my childhood by writing to a fourth grader. It was a fun way to go back to old-school writing before the email and texting era. It was a win-win situation; the fourth grade students got to work on their writing skills and we got to partake in a fun activity that took us back to our childhood.

The elementary students wrote to us first and asked such great questions along with the typical stuff one would ask when trying to get to know a new friend. They asked about my age, my siblings, my favorite subject in school, and other similar questions. They also asked questions like what I did in college, why I chose UCSD and Sixth College, what did I do outside of classes and how I prepared myself for college during elementary, middle and high school.

Visiting Farr

Elaine and a few Sixth College pen pals were able to visit the elementary school class we were paired up with. We came to do a short presentation on what college was, why people go to college and next steps on getting to college. We explained that people went to college to become better thinkers. Trying to explain the what, why, and how of college to fourth grade students was more challenging that I would have thought. It was difficult because we had to explain things in simpler terms and ideas that a nine year old child would understand. It was also extremely adorable to see their reactions when they found out that we could choose to eat whatever we wanted at the dining halls. They were especially excited to find out about the personal pizzas.

The fourth graders were incredibly enthusiastic and were bursting with questions. It was extremely gratifying to see how excited the students were after learning more about Sixth College, UCSD, and their upcoming visit of Sixth College in May.

-- Michele Nguyen

Sixth College Pen Pals

My first impression of the pen pal experience was that it was only going to benefit the elementary school students.  I did not realize that it would also be an equally exciting opportunity for me.  I really enjoyed that my pen pal was genuinely interested in my college experiences and was very eager to learn what to look forward to at college.  I remember when I was in fourth grade, I still was unsure what college even was.  To hear from these students that they already wanted to come to UC San Diego was pretty surprising.  I loved that this gave me the opportunity to freely write about how much I am enjoying my college experience, but also to learn about what has been going on in my pen pal’s life.  The most rewarding part of the program was when my pen pal would send in artwork she had done and would call me her “BFF”.  It really made me feel important because I knew there was a little girl looking up to me as a role model.  The day of the meet and greet was exciting in that I could witness in person how much my pen pal was determined to come to UCSD if the future.  I had so much fun representing Sixth College and helping my new pen pal friend obtain a clearer picture of how great the college experience can be. 

-- Christie Morishigue

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