Editorial notebook

How one high school senior ended up at RPI

“Why did you choose RPI?” I’ve never been asked this question directly in person, but I have shared it several times in conversation and notice the answer seems to always change. So, I ask myself, “ Why did I choose RPI?”

I had my heart set on applying to Yale University and seeing if I would get in. I told my family that if I didn’t get in, I was framing the rejection letter and placing it in the living room. And there it still sits.

Two weeks later, walking around Mohegan Sun with my mom, I checked my email and there was the letter from RPI—accepted. Tears of joy came from mom and tears of excitement from me.

I also got into a few other schools: WPI, Stevens, and Fordham, to name a few. I was nervous about picking RPI because I was nervous leaving home, or more specifically, leaving the only way I knew of life: being with my family, having a scheduled school day, cleaning my dishes after I eat, etc. I did not know what to expect of this experience called “college.”

Being 150 miles away from home was a tough decision that I made, and, for any accepted students reading this, distance should not dissuade you from attending any college. The opportunity to continue learning at RPI did not occur to me at first; all I knew before coming here is that it’s a school known for engineering and that interested me.

The decision to fully commit was not the easiest, set-forth decision. I’m not the best at making decisions, usually seen in the sandwich line at Sage when I tell them to make me a good sandwich, and I don’t care what’s on it!

But going back to the story, I took the big step for Maria-kind and put down the $500 deposit two days before the deadline. I remember clearly clicking the different buttons that appeared on the screen until the final message came up stating “Congratulations, you’re part of the class of 2018 now” or something of that nature. Sending in the deposit that day actually happened but I did not really feel like I did it.

I continued senior year without really thinking about the next big step. Coming back from the senior trip to Disney World with two days of time-off until graduation, I had me time to think of what lay ahead of me in a little over two months.

Now I’m here. To this day, it still has not really hit me. It still feels surreal, but I’m happy I took on this endeavor. My college experience is one that I surely did not plan beforehand, or even imagine. For accepted students, don’t try to map out your next four years now. It will gradually just happen and fall into place. Don’t stress the decision of what school to pick; whether you pick RPI or not, you’ll have a great time at whatever school you decide to attend.

Sometimes I just think about how my life would be like if I went anywhere else—I wouldn’t have met the awesome people I met here. It’s a crazy phenomenon to engage in, but only possible when you take that big step and go to the school you decide.