And Now, Get to Know a First Year…Chakravartin Sokhomsan


Carolina Carneiro '24, Guest Writer

Name: Chakravartin Sokhomsan

Where you’re Zooming from: Carlisle, PA 

Pronouns: he/him/his

Prospective major/minor: English and Dance 

Have you encountered any unexpected challenges with online learning? 

Still being “late” for Zoom University. I really thought that being online would give me the benefit of waking up early and starting my day with breakfast and a workout, but most mornings I wake up with 3 minutes to get ready and hop into class. I find it so hard to navigate all the links to different classes, and with the constant screen time I’m much more tired than I would be in a traditional school setting. 

Also, I am discovering just how hard it is to learn a new language over Zoom. I am taking French this semester, and I am an absolute beginner. With all the lags over Zoom and relying on the visual lip movement and audio to match up with the pronunciation… Let’s just say it has definitely been a battle over the last three weeks. 

How are you meeting other first years and staying connected? 

Having the first-year seminar class has been really nice, not only for connecting with other first years in general, but also those who are interested in the same topics and issues that are highly important to us. It is still hard navigating these connections virtually because you can only absorb so much screen time for so long, but just the simple conversations over the chat during class or Facetime out of class have been a game changer. 

How do you combat “Zoom fatigue”? 

Having my desk in front of a window with natural lighting. Seeing the sky and the sun and nature around really helps me stay alert during long and intense discussions. Also, leaving my room to go on walks around the house or outside allows me to physically “reset” my environment and helps mimic the feeling of walking to another class. 

What is it like being a first year and on campus? 

On one hand, there’s a lot of independence I’m gaining from not being home. But coming from a big city and huge high school of almost 5,000 students to a small town and a school with an even smaller student population because of COVID-19 has been a huge adjustment. Also, being able to meet other first years on campus has been really fun because there are only about twenty of us on campus, and the community we have made is beautiful. 

There is an advantage to being able to interact with the campus and community before many of my peers would, but it is definitely strange that there is a large number of students not on campus. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why? 

The pandemic cancelled my plan of going to Cambodia for the last time before college, so I would probably want to go there again and really witness and breathe the life and culture of my own heritage. There is so much we take for granted in the States, like education and access to resources, and seeing how a community flourishes without those measures in place is a profound way of living and something I want to learn more about. 

Fun fact: 

Over quarantine I really dove into makeup and explored the beauty behind painting and art, so using those two art forms I really learned how to map out different shapes and stories. Check out @wannabechakra on IG for some examples.