FirstBridge

Rokhaya

Student

Student Rokhaya Wade will graduate in 2018 with a major in International Finance and International Economics. Here, she shares how important FirstBridge was in establishing herself at AUP.

HOW DID FIRST/ENGLISHBRIDGE HELP YOU FIND YOUR PLACE AT AUP?

FirstBridge was the first occasion for me to feel integrated when I arrived in AUP. Indeed, seeing this same group of people (who soon became friends) for most of my time, was a way for me to feel good during my transition to university life. Also, this program helped me meet people that I knew I could talk to and who shared the same struggles and could understand the emotions that we were experiencing.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE AND/OR MOST ENJOYABLE BRIDGE EXPERIENCE?

My most memorable and enjoyable Bridge experience was the study trip to Bordeaux for my Autobiographical Writing class. It was the moment where I really got to bond with my classmates and also discover the beautiful city of Bordeaux. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Montaigne’s castle. This was a great occasion for me to learn more about the author that we were studying in class and actually have a clearer view on the ideas that we were discussing in class.

WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE LEARNING EXPERIENCES OF THE BRIDGE COURSES?

The term “Bridge” is well chosen. What I think is unique about the Bridge experience is that it is the perfect transition from the high school atmosphere to the new world of college. It helps us merge gently into a new environment and we can make some memories and share our first experiences with a specific group of people, before being able to navigate on our own after the first semester.

WHAT HAS THE BRIDGE EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR AT AUP?

The Bridge has enhanced the Liberal Arts spirit that I had been trying to cultivate since my high school senior years through the IB program. The FirstBridge program taught me to learn to take risks and explore disciplines that might not always appeal to me right away. Also, and most importantly, the Bridge prepared me to have a realistic view of university academic requirements and put in place my routine. I learned how to deal with midterms and the ins and outs of university vocabulary. Having a writing class helped me a lot for my English writing classes and I learned how to use Final Cut Pro with my film class, which is a great tool now when I need to make videos for business presentations.

Choosing a FirstBridge that had nothing to do with my major was also occasion for me to push my boundaries and discover a new discipline.

Rokhaya Wade '18
HOW DID BRIDGE ENHANCE YOUR INTERDISCIPLINARY OR CROSS-DISCIPLINARY LEARNING?

The FirstBridge experience was a great opportunity to clarify the way two different subjects can act together in order to convey the same disciplinary goal. In fact, studying literature and art helped me see how each of these subjects affect one another and why it is important for example to take into account the artistic movements when studying an autobiographical piece of work and vice versa. Also, the Bridge was a great occasion to actually learn art (something I was not really fond of) through literature, which is a subject that I really like.

DID YOU DISCOVER A NEW DISCIPLINE THAT YOU LOVED THROUGH BRIDGE? (PLEASE EXPLAIN!)

My FirstBridge introduced me to the discipline of art, which is something I used to not be fond of. To start with, the FirstBridge that I was placed in was not my first choice. I tried changing it during orientation week however it was too late and I remember professor Kinne telling me to give it a chance. I was reticent at first but I must admit that I do not regret it. My fears in taking this FirstBridge all had to do with art. I am a terrible drawer and I was not sure that I had the “artistic spirit” that I felt everyone else in the group had. In particular, our in-class studies of painters and artists such as Van Gogh or Rembrandt, along with the reflective seminar visits to the Louvre, made me discover this new discipline and “de-demonize” it.

HOW DID THE LIBRARY SUPPORT YOUR LEARNING?

During the first weeks of classes of my FirstBridge semester, the library organized a workshop aimed to present its services to the student and make us aware of the resources available to us. It was a very useful activity because they helped us get more aware of the meaning of plagiarism and more importantly for me, they helped us learn how to identify good online sources and websites. This proved very helpful for all of the research papers that I wrote later on.

WHAT ROLE DID ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM (VISITS, TRIPS, AND DINNERS) PLAY IN BUILDING COMMUNITY IN YOUR BRIDGE GROUP?

The Thursday afternoon visits to the Musée du Louvre (reflective seminars) were the occasion for all of the members in my FirstBridge to get to know each other more both in an academic and in a personal perspective in a way. We could help out each other with drawing and taking notes about the paintings and sculptures, which was a way to know everyone’s “academic style.” And at the same time, people’s choices of paintings and the conversations around art were a way to get to know each other in a more personal manner.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FRESHMEN AT AUP ABOUT FIRST/ENGLISHBRIDGE?

If there is one advice I can give to Freshmen it is that they should not choose the FirstBridge that they are “naturally” attracted to. In my case, as I am majoring in the business field, it would have probably been the “Marketing” themed FirstBridge. However, I am extremely happy that I was placed into a Bridge that did not apparently have much to do with my academic plan because it forced me out of my comfort zone, especially with the art section of the Writing class and the Film class. Choosing a FirstBridge that had nothing to do with my major was also occasion for me to push my boundaries and discover a new discipline. Hence, for the sake of the Liberal Arts studies, I would strongly suggest to freshmen to try something new with their Bridge courses.