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One year in, yet still away from campus

Hi, my name is Hagar Fadda, and I am at the end of my Freshman year at Sabanci University. I have no words to express the rollercoaster of a year we’ve had, or the last week we’re about to have, but one thing is for sure, this year was one for the books. We will forever remember it.

Mentally surviving the pandemic

One of the hardest things that most of us probably suffered from was trying to feel mentally stable through this tough time. After almost 12 years at school dreaming of our university experience and the excitement of getting on campus and meeting friends, our reality was anything but that. I know I am not alone when I say that this year has been tough on all of us. It was hard to stay motivated and wake up every morning to just sit in front of a screen, it was hard to resist going back to our beds just mere meters away, and it wasn’t so easy to connect with people as much as we would’ve liked to in person. I know our university has tried their best to keep our spirits high, and it is very much appreciated.

Also, with final exams coming up, the pressure is at an all-time high. It’s difficult to not get lost under all this stress, so that’s why I personally like to give myself a breather every time it gets too difficult. Give yourself a day to just allow your head to clear up a little. I know some of you might be thinking right now, “I don’t have time, or I’m already behind”, but if we don’t pause, and give our mental health priority, then it’ll be almost impossible to grasp any knowledge that we need for our exams. The time taken off might allow you to later look at what you are trying to study from a different angle. Obviously, I am no professional, so I am just speaking about what has worked for me best, and I thought it might work for someone else, so I’m sharing it.

Choosing Sabanci University

Since I’m already sharing, I might as well talk about why I picked this University and my major to possibly help someone make that choice too. I honestly have visited universities in many different countries before I made my choice. The reason I chose Turkey was because it was the perfect medium between going to Europe or to an Arab country, therefore, I appreciate the balance especially because I am originally Lebanese with a Swiss nationality. I absolutely love the fact that there are people from all over the world living there, so in a way it doesn’t feel like being too far away from home. I especially chose Sabanci University because of the inclusivity and the huge number of international students which makes it inevitable for you to find someone from your country there.  

Choosing Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering

Another huge reason that made me choose Sabanci University was because I found out that they provided the major that I wanted. I was actually introduced to this major in the UK when I visited some of the universities, and it interested me very much. I wanted to previously study medicine, but once I realized that it wasn’t for me because of the life commitment that it required as well as realizing how much I needed to compromise for it, I decided to pursue something that is not too far from medicine and that would still allow me to follow my love for Biology. Once I found out that Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering was provided in Sabanci University, and I realized how flexible the University has made it for us to be able to take courses from different faculties to solidify our choice in major, my decision was set. 

Manifesting for an on Campus Sophomore Year 

Even though Sabanci University has managed to run a very smooth online year, I think we all agree that we cannot wait to get on campus. I’m really hoping that we are at the end of this pandemic, and that this new normal that we have been living can become a story we share with people at our university’s crowded cafeteria safely in the future. “I heard that it gets really crowded.” I can not wait to meet all the friends I have made online on campus soon as well as make new ones. I’ve seen how beautiful our campus gets during every season of the year which makes me even more excited to live at the dorms soon. I know I keep saying “soon” not knowing when that will be, but I have high hopes for the future. 

Sending everyone good, positive energy, and I wish us all the best of grades in the upcoming exams. Good luck to everyone!!

Hagar Fadda
International Student at Sabancı University