Anthony - University of Pittsburgh - Class of 2013
Hometown: Bowie MD
High School: Public
Major: Psychology and Africana studies (formerly neuroscience)
Goal: A master's degree in public health
Freshman Year Update
I feel I have completely adjusted to the college life now. Classes are going well this semester. I thought I would major in neuroscience and minor in chemistry but things have taken a slight turn as I plan to double major in natural sciences and African studies. Medical school is still part of the plan, but I may instead go to graduate school to become a physician assistant. My advice for next year's freshman is to manage your time, ask for help, and have fun!
Sophomore Year Update
It's unbelievable that my undergraduate career is halfway complete! This year has been one of the best in my life. The craziness of choosing a major is finally over. I am a double major in psychology and Africana studies with a minor in chemistry. Sounds demanding, but I will actually complete one major this summer.
I am more involved with campus activities and have started to network with professionals in my future career field. I even gave a lecture via Skype to students in Macedonia on Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. I'm submitting a paper for publication. Hopefully within the next year I will be studying abroad and enjoying even more opportunities. Let's go PITT!!!!!
Junior Year Update
Here I am again, browsing college websites and preparing for standardized tests. It's unbelievable how fast these years have gone. I am aiming next for a Master of Public Health degree, focusing on global health, and then getting my Ph.D.
I am so grateful for the opportunities PITT gave me this year. I worked with a team to submit a paper on the socio-demographics of Liberian immigrants, and I volunteered with Global Links, which sends surplus medical supplies to needy countries and communities.
I identify my goals in college as the three Gs. I want to Gain, to Grow, and to Graduate. I want to gain new friends and different perspectives. I want to grow as an individual and as a man. I want to graduate within four years with good grades.
Looking for the "cool" in a school
I defined my perfect school as a "COOL" school. A "COOL" school feels like home. It provides support academically and socially, and it provides a challenge. I was also looking for strength in my major, neuroscience, which rolls biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology all into one curriculum. It will help me with medical school admission since I plan to focus on neurology in medical school.
My no-stress early admission plan backfires
They say your senior year will be one of excitement and stress. I decided to have a year of no stress and pure excitement. I applied to schools early so I would know my future by the holiday season. To my surprise those colleges had another plan. I was swarmed with lines such as, "Thank you for applying to [school]. After an extensive review of your academic credentials submitted to date, the Admission Committee is not able to make a decision on your file at this time." After many such letters, I became more and more stressed. I started to play the "If" game. If I had studied more or if I had joined another club would it have made a difference? I put a lot of pressure on myself.
I am not one with the highest SAT score or GPA but I do have an abundant amount of drive. It was back to the drawing board as I resubmitted test scores, grades, and letters of interest to more colleges. The final week in February became my new Christmas as I received letters of acceptance. I picked the University of Pittsburgh because I fell in love with the campus and what the school had to offer. I knew that Pitt's medical school was ranked highly. They also offered my major, which isn't provided by many colleges. They assured me that the school was there to help and wanted me to succeed. Being around those who value their education as much as I do will be an experience in itself. I can't wait for it to start!
My ups and downs
The most challenging part about the application experience was completing the essays. It seemed that every school I applied to had a different essay. When I sat down to write I came down with a case of writer's block. When I finally put words on paper, I felt they didn't stand out, and made me a pin in a haystack. But after long nights and thousands of paper basketballs, I was able to complete them all.
The day I received the big white envelope from Pitt with congratulations on the cover was one of my most exciting days ever, but my mother's reaction made it priceless. She yelled and jumped up and down like a kid in the candy store. She repeatedly told me how proud of me she was. She gave me a real sense of achievement. Although getting into Pitt was great, her reaction was icing on the cake.
What I learned
Visit, visit, and visit again. I thought I would be attending a school where it is sunny year-round, but to my surprise I'm moving farther north. The University of Pittsburgh provided me with a sense of comfort, diversity, and academic challenge. I guess I'll be making snow angels instead of sunbathing.
The senior year can be as stressful as you make it. Calming down and being patient makes a big difference. No matter how many e-mails you send or phone calls you make, you won't know your status before anyone else.
The money factor
The number-one question asked of the class of 2013 is, "How are you paying for college?" Unluckily for us, we graduated from high school when the economy isn't so great. I will fund my education with loans, grants, and scholarships. I will also look to the "bank of mom" for additional funds.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
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