Zander Wu

Zander Wu


Photo by Maddy Bunnenberg-Ross


Parsippany, NJ



English & World Literature: Creative Writing Track, Organizational Studies, and Psychology


Why did you chose Pitzer?

I chose Pitzer because I wanted a brand new beginning. Before coming to college, there were a lot of expectations that both other people and I had for myself, and I wanted to break away. When I applied to Pitzer, I knew that I would have the freedom to make an impact not only through social activism and social justice endeavors, but also in developing myself into the person who I ideally wanted to become. Coming from a suburban and homogenous community, I also knew that Pitzer was a place where I could expand my breadth of knowledge, have my own beliefs tested, and to continue learning both inside and outside of the classroom.


What is your favorite memory at Pitzer?

In my first year at Pitzer, my FYS professor took my class on a field trip to the Baldy Pipes to study graffiti. Because my FYS writing seminar was focused on LA Graffiti and Urban Environment, it was an incredible experience to trek down a huge hill with my class, cross over a wooden plank, and see art pieces that people have created down in the pipes. It was also really fun to then come back to campus and learn how to create tags on our free wall.


What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned while at Pitzer?

It’s okay to fail. I came into college wanting to be a perfectionist and constantly holding myself to high standards and being stressed when I didn’t reach my goals. Yet, when this happened, I felt that I not only learned more about myself and areas where I could continue to grow, but I also realized how important it was to have a strong social support system that would be there for me to help when I was at my lowest points.


What are your post-Pitzer plans?

Immediately after graduation, I will be traveling around Southeast Asia for a month with my best friend from the 5Cs. Then this summer I will be starting work at an advertisement technology company called AppNexus that I interned with the previous summer in New York City.


What do you think makes Pitzer special?

Pitzer is special because it is the only institution I have ever been a part of that truly values student voice and autonomy.


What is your favorite place on campus? Why?

I love the McConnell Dining Hall! It’s a great place to go early in the morning to finish up some homework in a quiet space, and it’s also a space where I can always make time to grab a meal and catch up with friends no matter how busy we are. Also, the dining hall staff are some of the nicest people on campus!


Do you have any words of advice for current/admitted students?

Take risks. During my time at Pitzer, taking risks has helped me not only get out of my comfort zone, but also gain new experiences my younger self never would have had. Coming to Pitzer from New Jersey was a huge risk that provided me with an opportunity to really be independent for the first time in my life. Taking risks during college found me in an incredible internship opportunity far away from home in Austin, TX where I was able to grow professionally, and taking risks in forgoing easier courses for harder ones has made my own academic experience so much more fruitful.


What else would you like to share about your experience at Pitzer?

Coming to Pitzer has provided me with so many opportunities that I never would have imagined being able to do when I first thought about coming here. Between joining Pitzer Activities and planning events on a $29,000 budget my first year, to completing a Winter Break Shadowing Program at Vanity Fair Magazine in NYC, to studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam, all of these opportunities were available to me at Pitzer because I had the opportunity to work with faculty and staff who wanted to help me make my own discoveries of my interests and who wanted to be there to help me make my dreams come true, too.


How has Pitzer challenged you and how has Pitzer helped you find success?

Pitzer has challenged me to truly think about my own privilege and positionality in the context of the world. Before coming to Pitzer, I rarely put much focus into my first-generation, LGBTQ, and Asian American identities. While learning about how these pieces of who I am both positively and negatively affect me, being at Pitzer has provided me with spaces and communities that have helped me come to terms with and better understand the intersectional elements of my identity, as well as why I should be proud of each one.