It’s been far too long since my last blog! I fell into a solid schedule last semester, but never made time to sit down and write. I miss the good ole’ days of high school when I could comfortably spend hours writing and editing without a single worry about time. College, however, is very different. I hope to put together a little guide of all the things I learned my first semester soon, as I know many anxious seniors like myself could benefit. Before I get too ahead of my plans for future posts, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my first semester at the University of Pittsburgh.
For those of you who have been following my blog for at least a year now, you’ll know I didn’t plan on going to Pitt. I didn’t even consider it a safety school. Coming here, my expectations were incredibly low. No one ever knows the university for it’s engineers, I thought. I was mistaken. Big time. From my first day here, I was an engineer. Gen eds didn’t exist. There was no curriculum easing me into college. Many of my friends at other schools take courses common to all freshman, and wait to declare their major until sophomore year. But I am an engineer now, and as of March, I will declare Bioengineering as my concentration. While it was difficult to take on 18 credits of engineering curriculum, I am glad I did.
The classes were rigorous. I took Calculus, Calc-based Physics, Engineering Composition, Chemistry with a lab, and Engineering Analysis. They pushed me to work hard and put in the time to get the grades I wanted to see. Regardless of where I end up, I can thank these foundational courses for my many academic abilities. Calculus taught me to think critically. My four hour Chemistry lab taught me how to time manage. Physics taught me problem solving. Beyond the curriculum of my classes, I learned so much about my academic strengths. I am disciplined. I do what it takes to get results. I don’t quit. While none of my classmates would sit down and read their Physics book, I cozied up with it on Friday nights. I learned that I go the extra mile to achieve my goals – and I have the 4.0 to show for it.
I’ll be honest, I thought Engineering Composition was a dumb class. It was centered on the premise that Engineers are out of touch with our emotions (they’re wrong – we just don’t have emotions). We spent the entirety of the course writing about our hopes and dreams. It got old quickly. No matter how much I despised it, I do have to thank my research paper for changing the trajectory of my future. I entered college confident I’d get a degree in Bioengineering and either go to industry or move on to get a higher degree and conduct research. But writing my research paper, I grew panicked. The lifestyle of academia was not for me, and I didn’t want the typical 9 to 5 of industry. What was I going to do? Should I just drop out now? There had to be more options. Somewhere amidst my future crashing down on me, I realized that many Bioengineers go to Medical School. I was set. I decided a career in medicine was for me, and I haven’t looked back since. I really can’t see myself doing anything else.
My first semester at Pitt was full of growth. I got to know myself a lot better. Living in a single room gives me a lot of time to reflect, and be my weird self. I am more “me” than I think I’ve ever been, and I’m really proud of that! In my blog post Accepting Rejection, I mentioned that all my rejection letters from colleges would somehow bring me somewhere wonderful. They’d take me to somewhere I always wanted to be, and that’s here at Pitt absolutely thriving.