At this time last year, I would’ve predicted myself thriving in my first year at Penn State. By this point, I would’ve had already acclimated myself and joined multiple clubs and organizations within the Smeal College of Business, adding all of my new leadership positions and affiliations onto my resume. I would begin to think about choosing where to intern during the summer and what positions to interview for for next fall. I would soon celebrate my 18th birthday with my closest friends from freshman year in my new ‘home’.
I did not think I would be home, working as an ESL Aide at a local middle school. I didn’t think I would be preparing for my first major surgery either. I never predicted needing to leave, but I do know I made the right decision.
The best way for me to explain my thought process is to take you with me in the short time that I was there.
I moved in on August 23, 2019. I said goodbye to my parents and started to get to know my roommate. I wasn’t emotional; I knew who I’d keep in touch with, and I was more excited to start my new journey. My roommate was very homesick; she called her mom on the second night talking about transferring because she didn’t think it was the right fit. I was fueled with adrenaline from my excitement, and I was kept busy by a cohort I had been accepted into months before my arrival on campus: the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program. I also applied to be an Eco Rep; after being accepted, I had my first event a few days later.
My adrenaline kept me going through the first week of September. I attended my first career fair, participated in Sapphire events and meetings, interviewed for a job on campus, and joined a workout group called Chaarg. My roommate knew a friend from school that got tickets into Nittanyville: front row of the student section. The first weekend of September was my second football game, and we got to experience it in the front row. My dad also visited the first weekend to apartment shop for next year. We even signed a lease for me to live at ‘Here’: a new apartment complex ready by Fall 2020. I was only on campus for two weeks, and my body was telling me to slow down. I got the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had and had to cancel all of my classes and other obligations for the week of September 8. That Friday, I had my first Roundtable through Sapphire with an Amazon Rep. I went to the doctor twice, and got medicine so I was better for the next week. Many of the students in Sapphire were debating between applying and interviewing for The Nittany Lion Fund or the Consultant Training Program. As a finance major, I needed to decide whether I wanted to pursue a career into banking or financial consulting. I ended up submitting my application for the Consultant Training Program and hearing back for my interview on September 14. Interviews for CTP were September 15, and I was very nervous. I heard back soon thereafter and started the program on September 18. My sinus infection wasn’t completely gone yet, but I had two meetings for sapphire that week and two career fairs that I couldn’t miss. I started to feel back to normal in the last week of September. I attended a climate change debate through the Democrats Club, met with an advisor about studying abroad, had an event for Sapphire and my second week of CTP, and then went home that Thursday for a few doctors appointments. I knew I couldn’t take another week off due to illness, so I needed to prevent getting more severe sinus infections. After the ENT and allergist, we decided starting weekly allergy shots was the best course of treatment for future prevention.
My first week of October was much like the others: attended a Study Abroad Fair, had meetings for Sapphire and CTP, applied for a job shadow opportunity, scheduled an advising appointment to discuss early graduation, and ended the week with a football game in Nittanyville. This is the month when I began to seriously consider transferring out of Penn State. The week of October 6 was much busier than the last: I attended a meeting for the job shadow in Philadelphia, went to a sapphire event, prepared with my team for our first Case Presentation in CTP, presented our case, attended the bi-weekly sapphire meeting, and met with a Paterno Fellows advisor. I ended that week with my first job shadow in Philadelphia: the job shadow was with a team at Xfinity. After many calls and consultations with Bryn Mawr and Penn State, I submitted my withdrawal forms on October 15 and moved out on October 17. I had my tour and interview at Bryn Mawr on October 18. I went to an overnight the next week and submitted my application to Bryn Mawr College on October 23.
It took me a long time to gather my thoughts and finally write out my decision to leave Penn State. The decision was very personal and came after much consideration into my goals and even more self-reflection into what kind of college experience I wanted. I am very thankful for the opportunities I had at Penn State and the experience I was granted during my time there.
I am very excited for the future and for what this new journey will bring, and am ecstatic to join the Bryn Mawr Class of 2024.