The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Wesleyan's Saadia Naeem, a golfer who is actively involved on campus.
Saadia Naeem, Wesleyan University
Sophomore, Women's Golf
Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale High School
Major: Government, Pre-Med
Why did you choose to attend your institution?
The second I got accepted to Wesleyan, I knew I would be coming here. Wesleyan has everything I could have possibly wanted in a school. It's small so I never feel lost. The film series and various different plays put on each semester place an emphasis on the arts that I didn't see at other schools. The people that I met when I came to visit were incredibly warm and welcoming, and made me feel at home before I had even committed. There's a wealth of opportunities available if you want to take advantage of them. Every person I've met here is involved in a variety different things that they are passionate about, making every single person a unique and integral part of Wesleyan's community. The people are really what make this school great, and I could see that from the second that I got in.
Why did you choose to be a Division III student-athlete?
I chose to be a Division III student-athlete because it gave me the opportunity to be involved in a sport that means the world to me without having to sacrifice other parts of my life. At Wesleyan, I can take challenging classes, be an editor for Wesleying, be on the board of Shakti (Wesleyan's South Asian Student Coalition), and do a ton more without feeling like I have to give up my passion for golf. I also really love my team. I really couldn't imagine what college would be like without these guys. We may not be the best golfers in the NESCAC, but we definitely have more fun on the course than any other school. A bunch of my teammates will be graduating this year, and I'll miss them a ton.
What is your dream job/career? Why?
My dream job is to be a surgeon, but I also want to be involved in politics. I think that being able to approach politics from a medical perspective is so important given our country's current political climate. Health care represents one-fifth of our country's economy, yet it remains a contentious issue, and too many people get hurt on almost all sides of the issue. As a surgeon, I want to be able to help people on a day-to-day basis because I want to feel like I'm making a tangible difference in someone else's life. By bringing government into the mix, I think I could help a much larger demographic as well. So, I guess my dream career lies somewhere along the line between being a surgeon and politician.
What extracurricular activities do you participate in?
I'm an editor for Wesleying, a student life blog that keeps students up to date on all things Wesleyan related. I'm a fiend for all of the funny and weird things that make Wesleyan what it is, and Wesleying has a great mix of both lighter articles about Wesleyan day-to-day life as well as hard hitting investigative reporting that dives into some of the more problematic things that happen on campus. I'm also a board member of Shakti, which is our South Asian Student Coalition. I've met a wonderful group of people through Shakti, and they really feel like my on-campus family. We have a tremendous amount of fun together while putting on cool events that highlight the beauty of South Asian Culture. I’m also an SAT tutor for Let’s Get Ready, a non-profit that provides low-income students SAT prep and peer-to-peer counseling to help with the college process. Being an LGR tutor has been a really cool experience, and I’m excited to be more involved this year.
What has been the greatest part of your college experience so far?
The greatest part of my college experience so far has definitely been realizing how independent I’ve become. In the past year I’ve really broken through limitations that I thought that I had, and I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone more times than I can count. Whether it was dancing in Crowell with my friends from Shakti or competitively snowboarding on Wesleyan’s ski team without ever having competed before, I’m glad that I took those chances. They lead to me meeting incredible people at Wesleyan and sharing experiences with them that I’ll never forget.
What are three top things on your bucket list?
(1) Learn to fly a plane (2) Go skydiving (3) Watch John Mulaney do live stand-up.
What has been your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
My favorite class outside of my major was definitely Film 307: The Language of Hollywood. When I decided to come to Wesleyan, I promised myself that I would take a film class at some point because our department is so phenomenal. I surprised myself when I ended up taking it in my first semester here because I thought it would happen way later. Language of Hollywood is an awesome class, and Professor Scott Higgins is a super engaging lecturer. It was cool going through all of the different major eras of film, especially as someone who doesn’t really watch many movies, especially old ones.
Who is your favorite professor? Why?
My favorite professor thus far is definitely Brian Northrop (he actually graduated from Middlebury in 2001!). I had him for Principles of Chemistry last fall and I have him for Organic Chemistry this semester. He's a phenomenal professor and is incredibly smart. I really despised chemistry in high school, but having him first semester changed my perspective and made chemistry my favorite class here. Professor Northrop is incredibly passionate about what he teaches, and it's hard not to feel that passion myself. I’m always telling my friends that I don’t even mind having Organic Chemistry at 8:50 in the morning because he’s my professor. He makes everything simple and straightforward, which really calms me down and keeps me from stressing out unnecessarily. I honestly can’t tell whether I truly like chemistry, or whether he is just an awesome professor.
What is your favorite place on your campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is definitely Foss Hill. My first year I lived right on top of it, so I was always hanging out there doing homework or just relaxing with my friends. It’s incredible because it’s in the middle of campus, so you’re not too far from most people or things. This makes it convenient; I love stopping there in the middle of classes, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It gives me a space to get out of the craziness that is life as a college student and just take few to enjoy the moment.