Amy Chang and Tracy Pang
Amy Chang (left) and Tracy Pang

5 questions with… Thwing Study Over organizers Amy Chang, Tracy Pang

Each semester, just before finals begin, Case Western Reserve University students take a break from studying to share in one common tradition: Thwing Study Over.

The event includes free food from popular vendors (think: Cheesecake Factory, Barrio, Colossal Cupcakes and more), a live DJ, massages, airbrush T-shirts and other activities hosted by student organizations.

This semester, Thwing Study Over is slated for Sunday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 11 p.m. in Thwing Center.

But while the event is meant as a break from reading and prepping for exams, there’s a small team of students working hard to ensure that everything goes smoothly—and it is anything but a break for them.

Leading that team are Thwing Study Over committee co-chairs Amy Chang, a sophomore studying nursing, and Tracy Pang, a junior studying biochemistry and economics.

The two students have spent all semester organizing a team of students to plan the food, entertainment, logistics and marketing of the event.

Chang and Pang joined the committee to have bigger roles on campus. They knew they’d have the chance to meet more people from across the university and play a major role in a long-standing tradition.

“I was involved in organizations, but I felt like I wasn’t really contributing in the same way I saw my peers and friends doing,” said Pang, who joined the entertainment committee last fall.

Likewise, Chang wanted to get more involved, so last spring she joined the student organizations/logistics subcommittee.

“It’s something that introduces you to so many different people,” Chang said. And that includes Pang, who Chang doesn’t think she would have met had they not both gotten involved.

Since they’ve taken on the co-chair roles, they’ve grown to be friends.

And they hope Thwing Study Over can have that effect for all students. They believe it gives students the chance to get to know one another and recognize that, as finals loom, they’re all in very similar situations—and they all need a break from being buried in their books.

“One of the best things about Thwing is that it’s close to the Tink[ham Veale University Center] and [Kelvin Smith Library], and it’s a great way to stop yourself from studying there,” Chang said. “It’s a prime location for you to just stop in.”

Before you stop by Sunday, learn more about the two women who are helping to make the event a reality.

1. Who has been your most influential mentor?

Chang: My high school environmental science teacher. A lot of people don’t really get to know their teachers, but she took the time to actually talk to me during breaks. I think one of the biggest reasons I ended up going into nursing is because I talked to her about it her about it and got to hear her perspective on it. She made me understand a lot about myself in terms of personality.

Pang: My most influential mentor would probably be my mom. She’s a first-generation American citizen. She put herself through six years of school and she’s very good at her job and I know she works very hard. She’s a person who’s really taught me to be assertive and, in terms of being a student leader, how to delegate and ensure that people follow up with what you’ve delegated to them.

2. What was your first job?

Chang: During my junior year of high school, I worked at an internal medicine clinic for a summer. I helped out around the clinic, but it was a nightmare. My boss was very demeaning and extremely arrogant. But I think it was awesome because it shows you so that there are so many people that you have to work with that you will not get along with, and that includes your boss. I definitely got a lot out of it.

This was the start of my nursing career. I did glucose testing, urine testing and shadowed the doctor when I had spare time.

Pang: I worked in a community fitness center for two years of high school. I really learned how to clean there because I had to clean all the machines every night I worked.

Having that job was actually beneficial—any first job is, really. You get your first paycheck, you learn how to be bossed around by your boss, and how to work with coworkers. I also learned a lot about customer service.

3. Who is your favorite author?

Chang: I don’t have a favorite author, but I do have a favorite book: Memoirs of a Geisha [by Arthur Golden]. That was the first book I read that had a very specific Asian character.

Pang: Ray Bradbury. My favorite book of all time is Dandelion Wine—I read that book every summer.

4. How do you like to spend your time when you’re away from school and/or work?

Chang: I’m from California, and my free time there includes eating and hiking. In my free time here at CWRU, I recently realized how much I love Cleveland. There’s so many things to do, including the museums. I love thrifting—even if you’re not buying anything, it’s fun to be around those areas.

Pang: I’m from Washington, so I’m very outdoorsy. I really like trail running, hiking—any kind of outdoor exploring. While I’m here at school, I like exploring Cleveland. I normally do my touristy exploring through eating. I like trying a lot of new restaurants, hanging out with friends and really seeing what the city has to offer.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

Chang: It brings out the best in students, whether it be through your social activities or doing what you’re passionate about. The school gives so many opportunities to people who want to pursue their passions in so many different ways. In terms of social life, I think a lot of students who came in introverted and scared to come out of their bubble have actually become leaders.

Pang: The opportunities, whether it’s exploring a new city or meeting people you wouldn’t have met. For me, it’s been a mix of both. I’m proud to say, “Oh, I go to school in Cleveland.” I’ve met a lot of great people here through TSO.