Gazing East

Sarah Brand '17,

Sarah Brand ’17 

Sarah Brand ’17 was enrolled at another college when she visited a friend at Dickinson during the fall of her first year. By spring, she was a true Dickinsonian. “I knew that I would be far happier here,” she recalls a year after her transfer to Dickinson. “I have to remind myself [that] I haven’t been a Dickinsonian my entire college career.” A club-sports athlete and East Asian studies major who taught herself introductory Korean last summer, Sarah looks forward to spending her junior year abroad in Korea, but she’s also loving her classes. “Once you find something you’re passionate about, you should pursue it, no questions asked,” she says.


East Asian studies.

Clubs, organizations and activities:

Dog House (social committee), Outing Club, Alpha Phi Omega (secretary), Gaming Club, Choir, Japanese Aesthetics Club, Writing Center (tutor), group fitness classes (Zumba) and indoor soccer intramural team.


Alpha Lambda Delta and Dean’s List.

Favorite book:

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell.

Favorite movies:

How to Train Your Dragon (I and II).

On choosing Dickinson:

I transferred during the spring of my first year from Connecticut College. Honestly, it was the best decision of my life. I visited my friend, who was already a student here, in October, and I immediately fell in love with the campus and community. I knew that I would be far happier here. The entire student body and faculty were so incredibly welcoming when I first joined the class of 2017 last spring that I had to remind myself that I haven’t been a Dickinsonian my entire college career.

Favorite place on campus:

Downstairs in Stern.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

French-toast sticks.

On choosing a major:

I’ve always been interested in Asian culture—be it anime, paintings, the language, etc. (I started teaching myself Korean last summer, and I’ve started learning Japanese as well.) The more classes I took in the East Asian studies department, the more I fell in love with it. Once you find something you’re passionate about, you should pursue it, no questions asked. 

Favorite professor:

Bates Sensei [Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Literature Alex Bates] is my favorite professor, and he’s also my advisor. He’s someone who genuinely cares about you, as a student and as a person. I think a lot of the professors are like that here—not only are they fabulous teachers, but they are also amazing people.

Little-known hobby:

I play League of Legends (and other PC games) more than I would like to admit. 

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

One of the most important lessons college has taught me (so far) is to truly be yourself. College is a place for you to try new things and to discover who you are (ugh, that sounds so cliché). But, honestly, I do think it’s really important. Don’t be afraid to be as wacky and as crazy as you want.

Proudest accomplishment:

When my high-school cross country team placed second at the state championships during my senior year. I ran on varsity cross for all four years of high school, and it was an amazing way to end an incredible running career. Although I am now too injured to run, I am so proud of my team for pushing through and doing so well when it mattered.

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Published June 26, 2015