My hazel eyes darted across the living room. making sure no one was in sight. I pressed the laptop against my chest and gradually lifted up the screen A flurry of thoughts, ranging from self-doubt to optimism, inundated my head during the second it took me to type my password– and then retype it on account of my trembling hands. After successfully saving enough money from every part-time job and shoveled driveway for the past two years, knowing my parents couldn’t afford the program, this was my chance to prove that I could jump over any hurdle I confronted My heart stopped as I clicked the “View Decision” button, and then I saw it: congratulations! l was accepted into the medical internship at Penn! From then on. nothing seemed insurmountable per se; if things were too challenging. that just meant I needed to direct more time and effort until the “strange became familiar.”
From honing my artistic style to grasping the ideology of time and space in relation to the Pintupi tribe, ideas, concepts, and opportunities were no longer preceded by a brick wall, but rather a window. I approached college with this same notion: persevere, don‘t disappear. While Boston University was not my first choice, I was determined to make it work, despite the discomfort it brought my family. After all. the school was in Boston: ‘pre-med heaven.‘ However, after plunging headfirst into the campus and all it has to offer, it’s become apparent that BU is no longer a viable path towards attaining my goals. I distinctly remember a sea of change as I sat on my forest-green desk chair reading “Writing Against Culture” by Lilah Abu-Lughod for my anthropology class. At first, this course was a filler, a whim, but it grew into a passion.
There was thisje ne sais quoi about it: the way it interacted and forced me to shift my perspective on those around me was alluring, to say the least. Ready to commit myself whole-heartedly to the subject, I declared it as my second major. Upon this realization, I was called to speak with my academic advisor; she tried to convince me to choose something more ‘practical.’ Apparently, there wasn‘t enough time to fulfill the required courses for my biology major. chemistry minor, and the pre-med track. let alone the completely unrelated ones needed for my second minor in visual ans and now for cultural anthropology. Pressured into giving up on my newfound academic love, I slumped back to my dorm feeling lost. University was daunting enough, especially being in a foreign country, and to know that my passion would impede my progress was, simply put, scaryt.
Upon telling my friend, a student at Penn who I met during my internship. she mockingly asked if I was joking, At first, I was taken aback. but she explained that my scenario was non- existent at Penn. In fact, she had a hard time trying to think of a pre-med student who wasn’t pursuing a major. or minor. in something completely antithetical to the field. After hanging up with her, it became clear that I couldn’t stay in a university that didn’t support my multifaceted academic pursuits. So, I have resolved to transfer to Penn Several factors have influenced me along the way. The depth and breadth of the anthropology department, for one, is too enticing to disregard The variety would give me an opportunity to pursue a strain in line with my interest: something historical and non-sociologicali Also, the mere presence of Professor Shelley Berger, whose work on neurodegenerative diseases pushed me to pursue an MD/Ph.D,, has greatly impacted my choice.
Ultimately, though, it is the nurturing environment that is Penn’s campus that has solidified my decision. It is the school that presents me with the best opportunity to have my cake and eat it too; to he in ‘pre-med heaven’ surrounded by professors and research labs at the forefronts of their fields, while also being able to indulge my artistic, anthropological, and poetic side beyond a simple hobby. If I have gained anything from my personal challenges of this past year, it’s a renewed commitment to living a life of integrity For me, staying at BU would be a compromise whereas transferring to Penn would be positively life-altering.