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Thames Student Ready for Next Challenge at Mitchell

Preston Cheng

Preston Cheng, a Thames at Mitchell College student, is looking forward to transitioning to become a Mitchell College student next year. As he wraps up his Thames experience he has advice for the next class of students who will be attending Thames:

“Don’t give up. Don’t get stressed out if things get too hard. There are plenty of staff to help you figure out an answer, and all are more than happy to help. Have fun being with your friends. Join clubs. This is real life— expand your horizons. Bring the skills you learn at Thames to your next step in life.”

Preston has built this wisdom since coming to Thames as a new student who faced several challenges, which he describes as struggles with reading, writing, and making new friends. After several months of what he calls “taking baby steps or a staircase from one level to another,” he is seeing improvement in all areas.

“I don’t like reading and writing and struggled with both throughout middle and high school. I know that if I want to improve I need help. Thanks to writing workshop offered at Thames I have learned skills to improve my writing, from formatting a paper to pulling out important details from an article. Tutoring helps me, too, in any subject,” he said.

His social skills have strengthened as well.

“I am also not the most open person and have had trouble knowing how to start or jump into conversations. I might say something wrong or something mean. But it’s improving a lot. I enjoy being with my friends at Thames and Mitchell.”

Favorite pastimes with friends include watching Netflix, helping each other with homework, and just hanging out.

Preston points to skills learned in a seminar class focused on building friendships and working as a group, learning how to collaborate and contribute.

“Working with others students that you’ve never worked with before gives you different points of view and perspectives,” he said.

Putting Skills Into Practice

He carries those skills into his work as president of the Thames Cooking Club, something that has been a highlight of his year at Thames.

“We make really good food, from ratatouille to pizza and ramen to Christmas cookies. We plan what we want to make and figure out what ingredients are within our budget. Everyone has a role to play depending on what the meal is. It’s a collaboration.”

He also translated his cooking and organizational skills into his work as a member of a student culinary team participating in Top Chef: Mitchell Edition, an event sponsored by Student Engagement, Residence Life, Dining Services, and the Hospitality Department.

Also a member of the Radio Mitchell Club, Preston said that he likes to hang out in the studio at night.

“It’s a chill place. If you like listening to music, Radio Mitchell is the best place to have a lot of fun.”

Next year Preston will attend Mitchell College, majoring in early childhood education, with plans to become a teacher.

“I am really good at working with young kids and volunteer at home with young students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. I like to help people and know that everyone appreciates that help and support.”

A member of the Aspiring Educators Club, he is already off to a good start in pursuing his studies at Mitchell, making connections with Dr. Chris Clouet, assistant professor of early childhood education. Together, they performed children’s songs on guitar for young visitors at the college’s fall Halloween Festival and spring Children’s Songs Festival. (Preston said that he took guitar lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic and was excited to put his lessons to use.)

He reflects on his Thames experience as he looks forward to beginning his bachelor’s program next year.

“It took me a while to get used to the classes, the instructors, my classmates, and friends, but after coming out of my shell I am ready to get to the next level of college to use all the skills that I have learned. I won’t throw everything out the window and forget everything that I learned at Thames. I am excited to put those skills to use in my Mitchell classes.”

Thames at Mitchell College students ready to transition to Mitchell College, Mitchell College

Preston Cheng, a member of the Aspiring Educators Club, performs “Old MacDonald” with Dr. Chris Clouet at the spring Children’s Songs Festival.