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Interview with Fredrik Blomqvist, Distinguished First Year Student

 Have you declared a major?

Yes, I’ve declared COEN or Computer Science Engineering.  I declared partly because I majored in Computer Science in high school, something you do in Sweden.  We don’t have any APs or anything so I couldn’t get any credits for any of the work I’ve done, but I’m following along and I’m picking up where I left off basically.  I’m planning to stick with it, I really like it.  I’ve been doing it in my spare time for approximately since 5th grade.

Are there any exciting projects you can tell me about that you’ve done?

I’ve launched a couple websites and last summer I had a friend start a company so I did their website.  I’ve been just playing around creating small programs and doing whatever is needed for me to learn more, exploring.

So how does it feel to be one of thirty distinguished first year students?

I’m really honored, because I didn’t expect it. When I first applied to Santa Clara and once I got in and once I got here, I thought I was the average Santa Clara student judging by my SAT scores.  So, when I first got this email, I was like ‘oh wait they’re addressing me in here?  Oh wow, this is fun.’  I did not expect it at all, but I’m happy.  My parents were very happy too.

Do you have any advice for other incoming International Students to help them achieve this award or get more involved?

Well, I would say, obviously, work hard.  But other than that, I would say, don’t compare yourself like I did to the American standards, just do your own thing and see what happens, because as proven, it’s very hard to standardize how well you can perform in school.  I think that would be the best advice, even if you score low on a test or if you feel like your fellow students here at Santa Clara do things a little different from you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing it in the wrong way.  There’s the American way of how you assign homework and tests and it’s very, very different, compare to at least Europe.

Distinguished First Year students are invited to join the Honor’s Program at Santa Clara University, are you planning to join?

Yes.  Once I got that opportunity, it’s basically too good of an opportunity to turn down.  So, I’m already in it – beginning next quarter.  I thought, ‘why not?’  I feel like I will learn more.

What are your plans for your future while at Santa Clara?

I’m at least here for the first four years to get my Bachelor’s.  As I said, I’ll probably stick to my major, and I’ve thought about maybe minoring.  I have a little interest in Finance, so I’m thinking about trying to combine that.  Except for that, my main goal would here is basically to have fun and enjoy my time.  Getting an education is something that comes naturally here, so it’s not something that I have to focus on.  Obviously, I will do my homework, take the tests, and so on, but I think it is important to get the full experience – being in a different country and all that.

Are you planning to participate in any Global experiences abroad while a Santa Clara student?

Since I’m an International Student, at least initially, I didn’t think about it or plan for it.  Why would I want to go study abroad when I’m already abroad, you know?  But, my plans may change, if I find something which I do find interesting, maybe a quarter, maybe over the summer or something like that – go to a country which I’ve never been to.  I have an interest in Asia, so maybe studying abroad in Singapore or Japan or something like that.  I just haven’t looked into it.

Do you have any plans after SCU?

Obviously, I’ve been thinking a lot about it.  Some days, I feel like maybe I’ll stay here in Silicon Valley or at least California, maybe go a little bit down south, you know, get a bit more sun and do that for the rest of my life.  But, other days, I think about maybe going back to Sweden, or Europe.  Maybe moving to another country.  Sometimes I think a little more long term, how would it be raising a family in the US?  What are the consequences?  What are the pros and cons?  And I don’t know, it’s a very hard decision.  But, I think at least the first few years, I’ll probably stick around and work.  The first ten years after, will probably be around work and around my career.

What have you tried as a First Year college student that you liked or didn’t like?

I’ve tried a lot.  I’m not going to say I have a strict “Don’t say ‘No’” policy, but I’ve done a lot, I’ve gone on many of the “Into the Wild Trips” I’ve met a lot of people and engaged as much as possible.  I may not have done as much of the official engagement – I’m not really engaged in the clubs, other than “Into the Wild”, I’ve not a member of ASG or working on campus, but I would say I’ve done a lot.  I’ve made sure to enjoy the area around here, I’ve gone up to San Francisco, I’ve gone down to Santa Cruz.

What do you still want to try while a Santa Clara Student?

As I mentioned, I haven’t been a part of the club life so much, so maybe I should think about that.  I’m officially in the ACM, the Engineering Club, I’ve just not been a part of any meetings or taken part in the activities.  But, that may be something that I want to engage in next year.  And I’ve been thinking about - maybe not next year, but in the future, starting my own club – take more of a leadership role.  Right now, I’ve been enjoying my life more as a student. 

Is there anything else that you want to share?

I’m enjoying Santa Clara, getting this award just proves that what I’m doing has been right, which is good because I’ve been having a really great time.  I’m excited about my priority registration, since I’ve been registering last for the previous quarters.

Are there any classes you’re looking forward to taking in the fall?

I’m taking another COEN class.  This quarter I took an ELEN class, so it’s a requirement, but it’s not my major.  So, I’m excited to learn some more about my actual major – COEN 20 it is.  And other than that, I’m just excited to continue my studies.  I’m taking my Honors C&I starting Winter Quarter next year, which is supposed to be Philosophy of Law.  I’ve always wanted to take a Philosophy class, so I feel like that’s going to be very interesting.

Francis Tan image

Francis Tan

"Whatever you do, an important thing, wherever you go, is to go with all your heart.  It’s really important to just be passionate about what you’re doing, no matter how minimal or small it may appear."