Starbucks with Sam

Hedy Gutfreund Role reversals are hard, but they’re particularly hard when you’re Sam Cohen. I insisted that Sam come with me to Starbucks so that I could interview her for a final Starbucks with Sam.  I asked her questions as she nursed her lemon cake pop, and she couldn’t help but ask me questions right back. Sam is genuinely interested in others– she’s excited to see everyone she passes, and she wants to learn everything about everyone. But this final Starbucks with Sam is to learn about the woman behind the column. First things first, I had to ask her some typical Starbucks with Sam questions. From this, I learned that she has a thing for obscure celebrity crushes. They are, according to her, “C-list, D-list, maybe even F-list celebrities.” Her top two crushes right now are actors Oliver Jackson Cohen (good news: she won’t have to change her last name when this romance works out) and Nathan Fillion (even though, as she admits, he’s quite old). Celebrities got us talking about Lollapalooza. She’s a diehard Lollapalooza fan and is incredibly excited to see Lana Del Rey. No newbie to music festivals, Sam told me all about Coachella from last month. Among her favorite shows were Modest Mouse, The Postal Service, 2 Chainz, and Passion Pit (a band whose name she prompted me to say by singing the refrain from “Take a Walk”). Lollapalooza this year, though, will be particularly special for Sam, because it will be her big return to Chicago after her move. After graduation, Sam is moving to Naples, Florida with her family. Not only will she get fantastic weather, but she’ll also be closer to the College of William and Mary, which she is attending next year. She plans to spend the summer reading on the beach and making new friends, which shouldn’t be hard. She admitted that she might consider just sitting in Starbucks to meet new people– something that is clearly her forté. That got me wondering how exactly she started Starbucks with Sam, which premiered this year with her feature on James Lawson ’16. Sam said that her mom came up with the idea and thought it would be really cute to meet new people at Starbucks and share that with The Forum. She told me that she “just went for it,” and I, for one, am glad she did. This retrospective mindset got me wondering about her experience at Latin and her favorite memories. Her favorite classes at Latin were Medicinal Chemistry with Mr. Choi, American Seeker with Ms. Diorio (which she notes had a “fun group of people”), and a physical education running elective that she took last year. Sam’s favorite book she read in high school was Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, but she respects my Slaughterhouse-Five obsession. She then reminisced on fond memories of her project weeks–from Hiking and Biking in Chicago to Marine Biology in Florida with Mr. Kim and Ms. Mundall (who she hopes people at Latin still remember, because she loves Ms. Mundall–in her words, “The school is missing an integral puzzle piece because Ms. Mundall left us”) to her Paris trip this year. Now that she’s moving on from Latin, she is dually excited and overwhelmed for the educational opportunities that await her. She told me that a William and Mary academic advising survey had gotten her thinking about potential majors, and she mentioned that she is considering neuroscience and business as potential majors. When I commented that those both sounded incredible but were really different, she told me about neuroeconomics, which she was introduced to in a class at Emory this past summer. Neuroeconomics is a field that explores human decision-making and how humans understand reinforcement. She also might want a minor in Italian or marine science, which has always interested her. Her final advice after finishing high school is to appreciate the student-teacher/faculty relationships at Latin. She also said to not worry so much about social stuff, because, in her words, “I feel like people at Latin worry too much about social stuff, and it doesn’t matter in the end. Just find your real friends.” Sam also shared with me the quotations that are the philosophy by which she lives. The first is by Roald Dahl, who said, “If you think good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.” The second is, “She loved life, and life loved her right back.” Sam, through Starbucks with Sam and through her entire attitude at Latin, seems to be the epitome of these two quotations. Latin will miss her and the entire Class of 2013 next year.