The past 6 months or so have been a whirlwind; simultaneously, they’ve been the most influential of my entire life. It is hard to pinpoint one point at which I decided this is the year I would graduate, so I am going to break it down by month.
My sophomore year was coming to an end, so I wanted to plan college tours for the summer. At this point I wasn’t serious about graduating in 2019. I decided I would schedule five tours; if I didn’t like any of those schools, I would schedule more. My first tour was June 13th at the University of Pittsburgh. I loved the city when we went for the Pittsburgh Marathon; however, I quickly discovered I didn’t enjoy it as much as I originally thought I would. The tour was subpar, and it just didn’t feel like the right fit.
On June 19, I toured Villanova University. I really enjoyed the tour and the information session. It was much more expensive than the University of Pittsburgh, but it seemed like a much better fit.
On June 21, I toured Pennsylvania State University. I had no intention of attending, but figured I would tour just incase I might like it. The weather was humid and hot, and I wasn’t in the mood for a college tour that day. I ended up disliking it, and dismissed the idea of ever attending.
On July 7, I toured New York University. I fell in love with the city and the campus immediately. I loved every aspect of NYU, and immediately thought this might be my future home. The only thing stopping me from applying was the cost; I thought I wanted to pursue medicine at the time, and NYU undergraduate tuition on top of additional graduate schooling seemed too costly. I decided it probably wouldn’t be an option based on cost alone, but didn’t dismiss the idea completely.
On July 17, I toured the University of Rochester. My parents loved the campus, but I did not. It was beautiful, but it didn’t feel like home. The atmosphere wasn’t as comfortable as I felt the other campuses were, and there didn’t seem to be anything special that intrigued me about the programs or the campus itself.
At this point, the idea of graduating in 2019 started to feel more realistic. I started to seriously weigh all of my options, and was constantly contemplating what it would be like if I chose to graduate this year. I didn’t tell very many people because I was still deciding if this is what I wanted.
I arranged an internship with F&S Orthodontics and Periodontics. I called over a dozen private and public practices for opportunities, and decided on this one. I knew if I decided to pursue a career in the medical field like orthodontics, I would be in school for about 12 more years following high school graduation. This is something I thought about tirelessly because I still wasn’t sure what major or career path I would want to pursue in college.
I talked to a lot of close friends and family as well as a few professionals about my plans. I planned on taking the SAT on November 3 and scheduled my senior pictures for the same weekend. I started to solidify my future plans, and decided to apply to PSU.
I took the SAT and got my senior pictures taken. Two weeks later, I received my scores and applied to Penn State the same night. I applied for a premedicine major within the Eberly College of Science. I was in communication with a few graduates of PSU that I know and trust, and was getting really excited about my future plans. I shadowed Dr. Ruit in surgery toward the end of the month, which was my first time in the operating room.
After reflecting on all of the courses I’ve taken in high school so far, I thought about which ones I enjoyed and which ones I did not. At this point, I finally realized I’ve told myself for years that I wanted to pursue medicine, but I never gave myself the opportunity to explore any other option. I took AP Chemistry and am currently in AP Biology, and didn’t particularly enjoy either course or subject material. After thinking about what I am passionate about and putting all of this into consideration, I thought about new future plans.
I was still waiting for my decision from PSU, and I knew I had until January 31 for the notification. I was still thinking about other options and career opportunities in different majors. I thought about my many more years of schooling if I were to go into medicine, and thought about my lack of enjoyment for high school so far. I decided to call and switch my major to business. I was excited and knew that this was the best fit for me, but also nervous because of the competitiveness within Smeal College of Business. On January 30, I got my acceptance into my selected major of business within the Smeal College of Business for the fall at University Park. I immediately accepted my offer of admission.
I scheduled a time to go up to campus for the Accepted Student Program. We left at 7 AM and returned home at 9:30 PM; we spent the entire day walking around and exploring campus. I was worried because of my subpar experience in June, but ended up loving my time there the second time. I loved every aspect of campus and student life, and was even more excited about my commitment after leaving that day.