Editor’s note: Far from Home is an occasional series in which we document a year in the life of international students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.
By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend
Craig Miranda has experienced plenty of things during his first semester in America. He’s seen snow for the first time, traveled to New York City and even started his own musical performing club at Penn State Behrend.
Last week, the first-year computer science major experienced something new: the dreaded all-nighter.
For Miranda, it was not exactly a bad thing though.
“I usually leave a few things to the last minute,” the Kuwait native says. “I like the adrenaline rush that comes from it. You’re so stressed, but you’re also able to absorb so much information because of that.”
Miranda has not been pulling the all-nighters in vain. This week marks finals week at the college, and he has high expectations.
“I want to make the dean’s list,” he says. “I know my freshman year is so important when it comes to getting internships.”
Thankfully, Miranda has had plenty of help when it comes to staying motivated. In Niagara Hall, he and his friends get together to study each night. These study sessions usually go until 4 a.m., but that doesn’t mean they don’t sprinkle some fun into each session.
“We’ve been taking over the study room each night. Then at 2 a.m., just for a half hour, we will blast music. The music pumps us all up, so then we’re ready to study again,” he says.
With all of the late-night study sessions, Miranda estimates that he is now averaging just over four hours of sleep per night. That’s OK because he says that’s all he needs. After all, he already has the perfect recovery plan.
“I can hibernate during winter break,” he says with a smile.
Miranda’s last final exam for the fall semester will be this Friday, Dec. 19. He will leave on Saturday for Washington D.C. where he will spend the winter break with his brother, Clive, who is pursuing a master’s degree at Georgetown University.
Before he leaves though, he already has a personal celebration planned in honor of completing his first round of final exams.
“Since no one will be around, I plan on taking over the (Niagara Hall) lounge and watching movies and eating,” he says. “I also plan on going sledding. I still love the snow. The only problem is the wind.”