Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

By: Tia Hildebrandt

                       Sam Cooke is a rising star here at Eckerd College …and he is only a freshman!  His outgoing personality, charm, and sailing expertise are getting him noticed on campus.  He is a Marine Science major, focusing on the Marine Biology track, and is also achieving an Environmental Studies minor.  Even though he is not quite sure where his future will take him, he plans on either taking a gap year, trying to find a Marine Science-related job right out of the gate, or going straight into a master’s program somewhere in the world. Like many of his peers, Sam states that he “really doesn’t know what to do. I guess I’m just going to take it one step at a time and just see where the next three and a half years take me first.”

            Sam first started sailing when he was about ten years old.  He told me, “Because of where I lived, I could never ride my bike or go out and play.”  He lived in a group of low-rise buildings that were limited in height because of the Kai Tak airport, and Sam got chased by the security and dogs for riding his bike in the area.  All in all, he started sailing “because my dad decided he was sick and tired of seeing his son become a fat little ball of uselessness.”  His favorite sailing memory is apparently “not publishable,” but Sam was willing to share some other memories.  He shares, “One time I was teaching the two politest kids in the world, and about halfway through, we see the friend in the power boat was getting quite bored, so we started circling him while singing and dancing to ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’.””

          Not only does Sam sail in his free time, but he is also a tutor for basic Chinese.  He helps out Professor Jing’s Chinese 102 class and will be taking Chinese courses at Beijing University this summer to strengthen his language abilities.  In April, he will also be finishing his PADI Dive Master course. 

            Sam, originally from China, tells of how very different his life was in China compared to his life now in the United States.  He says, “The two biggest changes that I can see are the difference in diversity and how much harder it is to get anywhere.”  In Hong Kong, Sam attended an International Charter School where students from all over the world would come together in one classroom.  He notes how there are not many international students on campus.  Additionally, he notes that “Hong Kong has a very good public transport system.”  The city is equipped with a metro system which can get people many places quickly and cheaply.  In addition to the metro system, they also have “over 18,000 taxis, 4,300 double decker buses, and over 7,000 light buses.”  Sam notes that the inability to get around in the U.S.A. is a bit challenging.  

            Talking with Sam Cooke is always fun and interesting.  His exuberant personality makes him easy to approach and chat with.  He is always full of funny and quite odd stories, which he loves to share.  His personality and expertise have certainly gotten him noticed around campus!

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