Macalester Today Winter 2011

4 firsts

Sebastian: Sleeping in and working out

“Time management is the hardest thing for me right now,” Sebastian sighs over lunch. “I keep missing breakfast because it’s done at 9:30 and I value my sleep more than food.”

Sebastian (aka Juan Sebastian Martinez Fernandez de Cordova) is a night owl in part because of the challenge he’s facing “mixing classes with social life.” He ends up staying up late to finish his homework. But this Ecuadoran native is not prepared to become a hermit to earn straight A’s. “I try to keep a balance. I’d rather have solid but not great grades and also have friends,” he says. So far, making friends hasn’t been a problem for Sebastian.

they wanted me to go to a us college ben at the bus terminal

“People are so nice here—much more welcoming than at home.” Unlike many international students, he actually hangs out mostly with Americans, he reports. “I like to be open to American culture.”

Friends may not be a problem, but food sometimes is. “It takes me 20 minutes to get my food at each meal,” he says. “To get enough I have to go to lots of stations or I have to beg for bigger helpings.” He needs to eat so much partly because of his rigorous workout schedule. Most nights find him in the Leonard Center gym lifting weights, so “I need to eat a lot of meat.”

Calculus, with its unfamiliar mathematical terms, is another challenge for Sebastian, who calls his professor at least twice a week for clarifications and help. First semester Chinese is also tough, though because of Sebastian’s love for all things Chinese, he’s determined to prevail. He first got interested in China through studying tai chi, which he continues to practice in his room. In October he discovered a tai chi academy on nearby Selby Avenue, where he was hoping to take classes.

Like most first-year students, Sebastian hasn’t seen much of the Twin Cities yet, though he has gone clubbing.

What are some of his goals for life at Mac? To major in economics, to live in French House (he spent a high school year in Quebec), to buy a car (“to go to Target and be more efficient with my time”), and to teach his parents—Sebastian is another only child—how to use Skype: “They wanted me to go to college in the U.S. but now they’re sad. My mom keeps calling me all the time.”

at the bus terminal

juan, karate