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  • Sarah Ruiz

Sarah Ruiz (‘17): Reflections of a Walls Alum

I am a proud D.C. Native and Latina graduate of the class of 2017. Throughout my time at Walls, I learned to take every opportunity that came my way. I knew that being an educated Latina and challenging myself academically would benefit my future.


One of my favorite opportunities while being a student was traveling abroad to Colombia and Finland with AFS (American Field Service) during the summer of my sophomore year. I also traveled to Ecuador through the DCPS Study Abroad program in the summer of my junior year.


All these experiences were on scholarships I applied for with well-written essays and interviews. My family did not have the money to pay for me to travel abroad but whenever I saw an opportunity to travel for free in the Walls newsletter, I knew to take a chance and apply.


I loved learning about cultures and engaging with the foreign exchange students and my peers of diverse cultures. My first piece of advice for you is to not feel discouraged if you cannot afford to travel abroad on a class trip or during the summer. There are always travel scholarships and you never know which ones you might end up getting. Traveling taught me to become more independent and curious about other cultures and languages.


I was also a dancer/co-captain of the B.O.M.B. Squad and a member of the Latino Club. These were my outlets to not stress about schoolwork and make new friends. Make sure you get involved and find an activity you enjoy. School is much more than just going to class and doing your homework.


Academically, I loved all my humanities classes because I genuinely love to write and found all the content interesting. Reading and writing will never leave your life and will be important when you go to college, so take those classes seriously now.


I know many students dislike the amount of homework, Sophomore Speech, and Senior Project to name a few. However, these assignments prepare you for college and will be something you experience again during college. Do not be afraid to visit your teachers during their office hours. When I did both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, everything flowed much better for me since I knew how to write a 15 page-paper and discovered ways of staying organized and turning in assignments on time.


Walls is filled with opportunities such as early college exposure and more. Every lesson and experience will help you grow professionally. My time at Walls has taught me to always speak up for myself, to make meaningful connections and to not let anyone limit what you are capable of. When you need help, ask for it. Your teachers, counselors, and administration are there for you. Whenever I struggled with my math and science classes, I stayed during office hours and even went to tutoring to make sure my grades did not drop.


these assignments prepare you for college and will be something you experience again during college. Do not be afraid to visit your teachers during their office hours. When I did both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, everything flowed much better for me since I knew how to write a 15 page-paper and discovered ways of staying organized and turning in assignments on time.

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