The Ups & Downs of College Applications Episode 4: The End of the Tunnel?

In this final episode recording the college application process, Percy chooses his college and shares insights learned along the way

Me, with my new plant

Me, with my new plant

Percy’s Lessons to be Learned:

  • Get all of the free stuff at your accepted students days/tours
  • If you know someone at a school, tell them you’ll be there. More often than not, they’ll be thrilled to show you around their school.
  • Look online for what students like to eat and do in and around campus (Reddit and local wikis are great for this, or ask people you know)
  • You get so much free swag, especially stickers, it’s the best part of all the emotional distress
  • If you’re having trouble deciding, list out what you want in a school, and compare your options to what you want. Also make a list of cons.
  • You can always find something to love about a school, even if it’s not your first choice. Make the best of what you have, or you’ll be stuck being jealous and unsatisfied the rest of your senior year.
  • Check your spam email. Right now.

Hello everyone. The mood of this final article is happy and joyous. Why, you may ask. Well no longer do I need to fret about decision days or essays- in this episode the weather’s getting warmer and the flowers are beginning to bloom as now I get to make the decisions about my future. I’ll take you through my decision process of how I chose my school and helpful insights on how to choose yours. Or if you’re feeling blue about your options, well, there’s stuff in this article for you too.

Saturday, April 1st, 2023

Today was Rutgers Accepted Students Day/Open House. It spanned all five campuses, and now I can definitely tell you that Rutgers is not my first choice. I’ll start from the beginning.

Each different school within Rutgers had a different campus that they took over today. Livingston was for Business and Nursing, Busch was for Engineering and Pharmacy, College Ave was for Arts and Sciences, Douglass was for Mason Gross, and Cook was for Environmental and Biological Sciences. The two of my concern today were Arts and Sciences and Environmental and Biological Sciences.

First, we hit up College Ave and started our day off right with the School of Arts and Sciences. When we were driving there, the exit to get on to College Ave was so backed up that the traffic spanned the entire length of the Route 18 bridge over the Raritan. My dad, being the smart Rutgers employee he is, avoided getting caught in this traffic by bypassing it, getting off in downtown New Brunswick, then driving back towards College Ave.

The first information session for SAS actually made me actually consider Rutgers for a second. The lady running it was funny, and I really liked that you can’t graduate without taking a bunch of fun elective classes. The president of the school, Jonathan Holloway, also hijacked her presentation in the middle of it to congratulate us. Apparently he walked in right next to my dad, and my dad almost confronted him, because my father voted to go on strike a few days before over contract negotiations. That’s another perk of Rutgers: they’re a bit like the French, because in my recent memory, they’ve voted to strike at least twice.

After that, we headed down to the Voorhees Mall, where all the different Arts and Sciences programs had information tables set up, not before my dad borrowed a “Rutgers Bound” lawn sign to quote “Decorate his office.” Voorhees mall, and most of College Ave campus is the prettiest of all Rutgers campuses, maybe if all Rutgers looked like that, I might be more interested in the school- more on that later. This part was also fun because there was so much free Rutgers swag- and I learned from the world languages/linguistics department that they offer 25+ different languages. My father also saw a few of his coworker buddies at a few tables. They tried to get me to choose Rutgers.

Tents on Voorhees Mall
College Ave Campus

We were pretty much done with College Ave after that, so we then drove across New Brunswick to visit Cook Campus and SEBS. We ended up spending more time with SEBS because they house my preferred major, Plant Sciences, and if I needed information about SAS and their genetics/biology programs, I could ask my father.

On Cook campus, we first went and visited all the major tables for SEBS in the fancy new New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health Building. It was really crowded at first, especially around my major’s table. But, the director of the program saw me and came over, and started talking to me about what the major entails and where alumni have gotten jobs, and she invited me to come back in an hour to hear her presentation about the program, and even got me a cool reusable bag advertising the department. Turns out, she’s actually my mom’s faculty advisor too. In fact, while we were there, my mom saw a bunch of her classmates, who also recognized her, because being the old lady in class is something people will remember you for, apparently.

All of the fun Rutgers swag I got.

The presentation about the Plant Sciences major was actually really cool, and once again, almost convinced me briefly that I should go to Rutgers. They do a lot of very cool research, including trying to make a natural bug repellent out of catnip, and developing climate change resistant basil. At the end, I got to smell some of that experimental bug repellent- and unlike that regular stuff you get, it naturally smelled like vanilla, like perfume, and it was really good. They also gave me a plant too, and a bunch of cranberries, because their department is partnered with Ocean Spray. I was very excited about the plant. And at some point in the future, the department director is going to give me a tour of their greenhouses.

Me, with my new plant
The living wall at IFNH

Next, we took a tour of some dorm rooms. Unfortunately, they were awful. The hallways were dark and narrow, and looked like they should have been in the basement of a really old building. The study rooms were just sad and run-down. Plus, there’s no air conditioning. The insides of the rooms were okay, but only because they were decorated. The dining hall looked sad too, from the outside. We learned later that it’s most convenient as SEBS students, to live in those dorms because most of your classes will be over there, and not so convenient to live in the nicer dorms on College Ave or Busch because you just don’t have many classes over there, but it’s doable. I really don’t want to live on Cook campus though.

Lastly while on Cook, we took a short walking tour of the Campus. The campus is not that nice. Most of the buildings are old and ugly, and it’s kind of boring. There’s not even a nice big library nearby to study at. Yeah, there’s cows and horses and greenhouses, but at what cost?

A view of Cook Campus

We wrapped up the day by driving over to Livingston for the resource fair. It was crowded, I didn’t learn much, but I did get a bunch of free stuff, and the people at Student Health were nice. I unfortunately didn’t get to take a photo with the knight, Sir Henry. In hindsight, I wish I did. Livingston didn’t even feel like part of Rutgers after Cook and College Ave. Even Cook felt wildly different after College Ave. I didn’t like that at all. I want to go to a bigger school, but Rutgers just feels too big that it’s not even fun anymore, it just feels impersonal. I hated that feeling.

Livingston Campus

So, I guess even with the incentive that it’s free, I just really didn’t like Rutgers enough to finally say it’s pretty much off the table for me. I am in fact, not Rutgers bound.

Me, being a huge liar

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

I got my final envelope of fun today from Cal Poly. It included a sticker, a really beautiful sign to hold up when I make my commitment post, and a letter of acceptance telling me cool things about my major program there, including a beekeeping class.

Thursday, April 6th, 2023

Instead of doing work today, I decided to check my email, and when I did I found a fun little email telling me that Cal Poly gave me a scholarship. Of course, being in the D-wing, it took me 20 minutes to log into the portal. I could only see how much it’s giving me for next year only ($2,100,) so it’s a mystery to me if I’m getting $2,100 for just one year or $8,400 over 4 years. I looked up the scholarship too, and the only thing it told me was it is awarded to students at Cal Poly pursuing Animal Science or Horticulture with the intent to go into the agriculture field. It’s not a large amount, but that’s okay because Cal Poly is on the cheaper side, and I appreciate the sentiment and the free money.

Friday, April 7th, 2023

Hello and greetings from California! I have a fun little surprise for this article, I have the privilege of spending my spring break hopping flights to visit five different schools before I have to make my final choice and SIR (statement of intent to register, or in simple terms commit.) Who will receive my final rose? We might find out soon.

Today, we’re driving up from my grandma’s house to go visit Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, about a 3-4 hour drive, depending on traffic. That is one con of the school, San Luis Obispo is a little in the middle of nowhere, but they would prefer that I say they’re in “the middle of everywhere,” because they’re 3 hours from LA, 3 hours from San Francisco, and 3 and ½ hours from Yosemite.

I got to tour Cal Poly last summer, but it’s different this time. Last time, I went on a prospective student tour, this time I’m going on an admitted student tour of their College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences. I’m going to see some cows today.

From what I remember from the last tour, San Luis Obispo is beautiful, and has a big outdoor and especially surf atmosphere. Campus was pretty and I even bought some food products made by students as part of their classwork. I also visited downtown San Luis, with their very famous farmers market, which was essentially like a huge fair but with organic produce and acrobats that shut down a whole mile of the Main Street. It’s like a mix of a beachfront school with an agriculture school college town.

Student-made products that I got over the summer.

There weren’t any students when I visited there in the summer, but from what I’ve learned online, Cal Poly is not very diverse at all, which to me is a major con. I’ve also been told that the Ag school is the conservative stronghold of the school. I might find out more later, but both of those are a major, major deterrent for me, even if they are just half-truths.

Update: 12:00 pm

We’ve stopped in Santa Barbara for In-N-Out and I’m majorly regretting not applying to UC Santa Barbara. It’s beautiful here. The drive up to SLO is gorgeous too, the highway is right next to the ocean, and there’s so many mountains and cliffs covered in wildflowers from the super bloom and the rain they’ve been getting (meaning it’s also the greenest I’ve ever seen the state.)

Photos from the drive. I don’t think California is a real place.

Update: 5:15 PM

I just finished my tour of Cal Poly. I learned absolutely nothing that I didn’t already know, even though I thought I would because when I signed up, it told me it was an admitted student tour, but when I got there, the vast, vast majority of the touring students were prospective sophomores and juniors. Also, it didn’t help that I had a headache or that my dad was stressed/frustrated about where we parked, making that the only topic worth discussing before the tour, the during the beginning of the tour, and after the tour.

Some cool things I did learn was that there’s a logging club, where they log and throw axes. Almost everyone in the school takes a soil science class their freshman year, and you have to hike up a mountain to get your samples for the labs. And what was really cool to me, was actually their Agricultural Engineering program. We walked past a bunch of Ag engineers welding together their senior project, a biofuel generator, which they custom created for a winery that commissioned it. I also got to see their fish farm that they’re developing too.

Campus was beautiful, as always, even more spectacular thanks to the recent rain. And I was right about the lack of diversity too- the tour was mostly white people, and I only saw one Black person on campus, and he was on the tour with me. Quite a few of the children/parents had the whole country vibe going too- which indicates absolutely nothing about them as people, but does make the likelihood that they wouldn’t like me higher.

Me and my homie the cow

The campus cows. Yeah these students have beef.
They have goats too.
A tractor from the Agricultural Engineering building
There’s fish in there! They’re trying to develop more sustainable and efficient fish farming methods.

Update: 8:30 PM

Yeah, I really like the town of San Luis Obispo. Sure, it’s in the middle of nowhere, and is really annoying to get to, but it’s so nice. For being a town of only 45,000 people, you would never believe that because there’s a lot going on and everyone is out and about. The downtown may be bougie as he[ck], but that’s what makes it fun- even if all the restaurants will charge you $23 for pasta. Plus, you’re 15 minutes from the beach, and there’s lots of hiking and mountain biking in the town, and it’s rarely not sunny.

Saturday, April 8th, 2023

I went for a run this morning around Cal Poly campus. It was extra pretty that morning, and I saw all of the students walking from their dorms to go get breakfast. Everyone I saw was white, except for two people. And I also didn’t see very many people who made me go “they’re cool, I want to be friends with them.”

Views from my run
Views from my run

Update: 6:04 PM

I just got back to my grandma’s house from Cal Poly, and let me tell you that drive is EXHAUSTING. It took all afternoon, with two breaks. Travel is definitely a con, even if it’s beautiful. It’s also on the trafficy-er side coming and going from LA, because we always got stuck in Santa Barbara and around UCLA and Calabasas.

Monday, April 10th, 2023

I just landed at Oakland airport because today is my UC Santa Cruz tour. Before the tour, I have the privilege as a biology nepotism child of meeting one of my father’s colleagues who’s giving me a tour of the science department at UCSC.


Who the he[ck] needs Cal Poly? [Forget about] Cal Poly! UC Santa Cruz has wild turkeys, smells really good, cool people, beautiful views, and a fun mascot.

My father’s colleague is a really cool lady, and she gave me an awesome tour of campus and a bunch of insights. She’s really nice too. I would have totally loved to work in her lab if she hadn’t retired from research. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to meet her.

But I really cannot get over the beauty of that campus. Half of it is in a redwood forest, the other half has sweeping views of the Monterey Bay, and some parts even have both. The majority of the campus is completely undeveloped too, so you get all of this wildlife around, like the wild turkeys I saw on the tour. Apparently they get rabbits, coyotes and mountain lions too sometimes, and of course- banana slugs. There’s even these huge canyons that you can hike down or walk across on these massive bridges that are straight out of an old western movie. Yeah, I get to hike to class, then go mountain biking steps from my dorm (and surfing too!) Not to mention, they also have an amphitheater carved out of a cliff.

On the side of housing, which I had concerns about from the start, because I’ve heard stories about many students at Santa Cruz going homeless, those were tampered down by reassurance from many students who have had no issue whatsoever.

They also work on a college system, where each community of dorms has a different theme, and a mandatory class that all the students associated with the college take. Personally, I really like this and I think it’s cool. I even walked around the one that I’m interested in joining, Porter College, who’s theme is “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Life is Short, Art Endures.” They’re also informally known for being the “stoned gay artist college,” which sounds great to me, except for the stoned part, which I am legally not allowed to condone. I will note as soon as I stepped onto Porter campus, I was hit with an overpowering smell, and saw a bunch of goths, so their reputation isn’t wrong.

I also thought it was super cool that if you bring your own refillable soap/shampoo/conditioner containers, you can refill them at least on Porter campus for free.

So yeah, besides being very strong academically, Santa Cruz is just overall really great. The one con, I would say, is it took us over and hour to drive five miles because we got stuck on highway 17, which was a parking lot, because it’s a two lane highway over a mountain range, and because of recent flooding, it’s the one of two open routes left over the Santa Cruz mountains, and today they decided to close off a lane, combined with Silicon valley traffic. Thanks, Google. And it did not help that the descent was very windy and fast, and if I was driving we would have died. My father apparently has seen the direct aftermath of what happens when you make one wrong move, and it was bloody. So, not great.

Students have access to hammocks that are just attached to a little redwood grove and overlook the bay.
A view from their athletic fields
You can buy banana slug slippers at the school bookstore. I want a pair.
The view from their arts center.
Like it’s IN a redwood forest.
Stickers, because they’re cool like that.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Corvallis, Oregon is something. I’ll start with when we landed in Eugene- I haven’t even seen the school yet.

Eugene airport is mini and adorable, and we flew in over emerald green forests and farmlands. I liked it. Then we started driving, and the drive was nice. We passed a bunch of really pretty farms and cows and sheep and a few rural towns who were very much the stereotype of rural towns.

Finally we ended up in Corvallis, which is just like all of those rural towns but larger. It’s unimpressive. And seems very boring and mildly ugly. I would just not leave main campus very often.

Update: 7:23 pm

Okay, maybe I was a little wrong. Downtown Corvallis isn’t that bad, it’s just a little empty and sad on a Tuesday night. It could be quite nice, maybe on a Saturday morning. And there’s a lot of queer flags in building windows, specifically in coffee shops. There are a lot of empty storefronts though. And like 10 dispensaries, one even doubles as a pizza joint. It’s not actually that bad, but I just went in expecting another San Luis Obispo, when it’s more of a Bellingham, Washington mixed with a Davis, California- rural college town in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by farms with a downtown that isn’t necessarily a tourist destination.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Oregon State is the only school that I got into that I applied blindly too (never toured/seen,) and today I saw it.

The campus is very pretty, it takes the best parts of Rutgers New Brunswick and combines them with University of Washington. All of the buildings look and feel very new, even the ones that were built back in the 1800s- nothing is run down or falling apart, or just looks old and sad. Their student union looks like Grand Central Station in New York City and its student lounge is out of a British manor.

I got to tour the exact residence hall that I applied to live in way back when in February. I chose a fantastic hall, it’s recently renovated and the rooms are all quite large and doubles. Plus, if I hate my roommate, the school offers couples counseling for roommates.

Oh, and the campus has food delivery robots. I’d seen them before at UC Irvine, where they’re despised, but at Oregon State they’re beloved little creatures. There’s a railroad that runs through the middle of campus, and so the robots often have to cross the track, but unfortunately two of them have been lost to the train, and the students held funerals for them.

Food delivery robot. He’s waiting patiently for the train.

Oregon State happens to be a PAC-12 school along with University of Oregon and today I learned that Oregon State despises the Ducks. The tour guides even told us if we’re going to UP later to remind them that OSU beat them. Students even spelled out [blank] the ducks in sticky notes across at least three separate dorms, and I’m not sure if it’s connected, but someone also drew Manny from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid with stickies.

Manny in the window.

If I end up at OSU, if I ever want to see the Ducks get destroyed, I can do that for free because all sports tickets for students are free here unlike *cough* Rutgers *cough.*

I think despite all this I might get bored here at Oregon State. It’s nice, I like the forest, and they try a lot to make it interesting, but it just lacks excitement for me. It’s cool, I like the school colors, I like the campus, the programs are good, but it doesn’t have that flair that keeps me interested. All my other schools had that flair, except Rutgers, that made them different or unique to me- but OSU lacks that. They’re better than Cal Poly, although not by much, but they’re very far, far away from Santa Cruz.

The Oregon State swag

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

We drove down to Eugene today for University of Oregon. We met with another one of my dad’s colleagues who works at UO and she gave me a tour of her facilities and the new fancy biomedical engineering building that was paid for by Phil Knight, or Uncle Phil as they affectionately call him here. That building is really nice. I also saw the craft center and radio station within their student union. My dad’s colleague loves their craft center. And I understand, because it’s got a ceramics, metal, textile, glass, and print studio, and a woodshop- all of which are beautiful.

The fancy new biomedical engineering building.

She also recommended that we hike up this mountain that’s really popular and seals the deal for a lot of prospective students called Spencer’s Butte. We did, and it was beautiful, even if we took the strenuous trail up and ended up covered in mud from slippery rock scrambles. We also had some really good pizza and ice cream that she recommended (and that I saw was popular on the UO Reddit page.) If you visit a college, definitely look online for what students like to eat and do in an area, because then you can get an extra layer of student life there and be entertained and well fed for when you’re not touring.

A view from part of the way up Spencer Butte.

Friday, April 14th, 2023

Duck Day! It was great, even if I left early so I could catch my flight to the final school tomorrow.

I started my day off right with a four mile running tour of all the highlights of running in Eugene with about five of my classmates and a few fathers. It was very nice and I got to know some of my possible classmates and get a workout in. We ran on Pre’s Trail, a special trail dedicated to running and UO legend Steve Prefontaine, as well as past Autzen Stadium, their massive football stadium, and Hayward Field, the world famous running track and field.

Hayward Field! Sadly I can’t run on the actual track.
Autzen Stadium

After my run, I went to check in for the main events of the day, and to the info fair in the concourse of their brand new Matthew Knight Arena, this absolutely massive basketball stadium. And as expected from my previous experiences at UO, I got so much free stuff. Water bottles, pins, luggage tags, you name it. We all then went into the stadium and sat in the stands for welcoming remarks in the massive fancy stadium with information displayed on the jumbotron. They also gave out swag bags to the three people who traveled the furthest to come here, and the three people who traveled the least. Unfortunately in terms of distance, I was beat out by two people from Maine and one person from Massachusetts.

Inside Matthew Knight Arena where we heard welcoming remarks.

Next on my schedule, I had a housing tour- nothing special, then a lunch break. Oh my god, the food at UO is absolutely amazing. For $10, I got a massive bowl with pepper fried tofu, salad greens, hummus and a bunch of other toppings and it was delicious. I could have committed right there based on that. Then I went on another tour of campus and student life. No new information from that really.

My delicious lunch.

We ended that tour at our major sessions, where I got a tour of their product design and arts facilities, met with one of the faculty who reviewed my portfolio and an academic advisor for the program. They’ve got a beautiful furniture shop, sewing shop, and studio space and comprehensive courses on how to use all these tools. It’s great.

But with great things comes bad news, because the way the product design program is structured, it’s near impossible for me to do a double major in biology. Unfortunately I can compromise on product design and art, but I can’t compromise on biology because of the requirements for biology graduate programs compared to art/design ones. And no matter how much I loved Eugene and how great UO campus is and the people there, I just can’t get over that fact, and I feel bad about it.

We left after this, unfortunately missing the reception afterwards with free food, a surprise gift, and an opportunity to meet the duck. I really wanted to meet the duck- even if I did see his cousin hissing at me on my run this morning.

I have UO branding for days
My name tag
Look! On the back of my name tag is a personalized schedule!

Update: 9:58 PM

I just arrived in Davis, and it feels like I’m coming home after a long trip. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to Davis many times before. Last summer I took a tour of UCD, and my tour guide looked like Micheal Cera’s long lost twin. It’s also tradition in my family to come during the Fourth of July and suffer in the 100+ degree weather.

Saturday, April 15th, 2023

It’s PICNIC DAY at UC Davis! In typical Davis fashion, we rode bicycles to campus because while Eugene,Oregon may be TrackTown USA, Davis is the bicycle capital of the United States and is home to the Bicycle Hall of Fame. The weather was fantastic, the sun was out and it was warm- I even got a little hot later in jeans and a t-shirt.

There were many events at Picnic Day, Davis’s better answer to Rutgers Day, and so I unfortunately did not get to go to them all. I did. catch a short admitted student information session at the very beginning of the day, once again learning no new information.

The next major highlight was getting coffee, because at UC Davis, almost everything ranging from the bus service to the coffee shop to the craft center, is entirely student owned, run, and operated. And the UC Davis coffee house had it down to an assembly line, with rapid fire lattes, mochas, and muffins- all delicious and student made. I really like that about Davis, that students run and manage a lot of the school, and not people who are sitting in an office, twenty years removed from college.

Then there was the parade. It was awesome. All the clubs and a bunch of local organizations participated. Davis is full of funky, diverse people, as proven by the parade and it’s great, and the parade really showed that off. Unfortunately, Chancellor May said in his most recent Thursday Thoughts (his weekly Instagram video series,) that he would be at the parade for selfies, and I didn’t see him. I really wanted that selfie, Gary.

The bus in the parade. Almost all the buses at Davis are the double decker buses that are also found in London, and every single one of them are driven by students.
The entomology club dressed up as bugs. They were behind the UFO experience truck.
Apparently, Davis is home to a Delorean club, comprising of at least six Deloreans.
The Japanese drumming club, who pulled their own float.
COW TRUCK! Can confirm from one of the dorm areas, that you can both smell and see the cows from the dorms.

The next main event was the Doxie Derby, or dachshund races put on by Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine (ranked 1st in the world!)- completely unrelated to my college decision, but nonetheless still really fun and cute. Also unrelated to any decisions, I painted a dead fish with ink and stuck it on some paper like a stamp, and some other plant/animal art- thanks to the ecology department.

The free swag of the day, plus my dead fish print and some plant art.

I ended the day watching the battle of the bands- where a bunch of marching bands from California colleges compete against each other for hours until the last one is standing and declared the winner. UC San Diego was there and I was cheering for their downfall because I’m a little bitter about my waitlisting. As I watched and listened, I also watched all the people go by- there were a bunch of students I could be friends with, and a bunch of people I typically wouldn’t be, and I liked that diversity in personality of the people going there. I also really liked how invested everyone is into fun traditions at UC Davis. Yeah, sure, Cal Poly and University of Oregon also had their fair share of traditions, but at UC Davis, there are so many fun college traditions like Picnic Day or the Doxie Derby or cockroach races and maggot painting or the battle of the bands on Picnic Day alone that bring the campus together and it’s part of their personality as a school and it’s appeal. Davis is also really friendly and welcoming too, three people even wished me a “Happy First Picnic Day.”

A mostly empty bike rack area. It was packed earlier.

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

My morning run was through Davis campus today. They have this huge arboretum that runs through campus following a creek, which I ran on. There’s a huge cactus on campus, and so I spent my run trying to find the massive cactus but I couldn’t find it. I’m sad about it.

I saw cows too. And smelled them.
The massive cactus, from a previous visit.

Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

I’m back in Jersey, and I received my final fun admissions envelopes. Cal Poly sent me another, also completely personalized, and a Pratt student sent me a letter to convince me to come and a sticker. Unfortunately, I’m past convincing. I think I know where I want to go, but a few things need to get finalized first before I tell y’all.

My Pratt letter and a nice sticker.
Cal Poly stuff.

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

I’ve committed. Burst out the confetti and the noisemakers. Where? You’ll find out soon, just let me explain how I came to my decision first.

So ever since I’ve gotten each acceptance, I’ve started doing in-depth research on that school and creating a pros and cons chart for each of them, by exploring their websites, looking at their student run instagram memes pages and reddits, taking tours, and attending their accepted students events both in-person and online. I’ve spent hours on this, and a lot of time thinking about where I want to go (most of those hours during Speculation in Literature and AP Biology,) because it’s a really hard decision for me. I got into a lot of places, just not the ones that I exactly wanted, but that’s okay- I’ve found a place I want to fall in love with.

Option number one, the Pratt Institute. I applied here originally because in sophomore year I took a class here that spurred my interest in product design, and I really enjoyed the class. In addition, it’s the only art-only school I applied to, meaning they don’t offer programs like biology, only art. The school is really prestigious, being the oldest art school in the United States, and has produced many world renowned industrial designers. But with name prestige, comes the cost of name prestige- which is actually less of an issue than I thought it would be because they gave me a $22,000 a year presidential scholarship, lowering the price down from ridiculous to the average price for out-of-state tuition at a public school.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, you would have thought that I would have been able to get around to visiting their campus- I did not. But I do know that they have excellent facilities for all of the prototyping and designing that my major requires, including a woodshop, metalshop, ceramics studio, plaster-mold shop, and 3-D printing, and probably more that I don’t know about. The campus isn’t large, and neither is the school, which is typical for an art school. But located in New York City, it being a small school is made obsolete by the location. I like New York City, it’s the only place on the East Coast I could see myself living long-term, even if people think that Brooklynites are insufferable. But my liking for NYC doesn’t outweigh my want to get away from the east coast, unfortunately. And NYC housing is a nightmare. The dorms at Pratt lack kitchens, and there aren’t very many dorms available, and schools like them tend to outsource their dining services to places like Sodexo, so I’m not thrilled to live there, and I’m too far away in Piscataway to commute. It may be amazing for industrial design, but the lack of other subjects available and its east coast location are things that I just cannot ignore.

Option number two, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I don’t even know how to start with this place. Maybe by walking across the street, because that’s literally how close it is to me. Google maps says that campus is 0.4 miles from my current location, my bed. Rutgers is not a bad school either, it’s ranked 51st in the United States, and it’s got some truly incredible biology and art programs (but no product design.) It’s got $8 movie tickets at Rutgers Cinema, ranked 1st in the northeast for most queer friendly campus, and a Starbucks truck and pretty decent (emphasis decent) campus food. The school definitely has its fun quirks, including free tuition for children of faculty (like me.)

And I know these quirks, because I’m way too familiar with the school. I’m so familiar, I could end up with my father teaching one of my classes. I’m so familiar that I won’t need to make new friends because most of my friends are going there, and I won’t need to make new enemies because all the people I hate are going there. I’m so familiar I already live in my dorm room, my house. There’s no adventure, and Rutgers Adventure Recreation’s offerings don’t do much to help create any either.

I hate Rutgers’ campus too. I want a big school, but Rutgers is just too big. It can take 15 minutes on a good day to get from one end of campus to the other by taking a bus, on a bad day, an hour. The campus I’d likely be on the most, Cook/Doug, is ugly and has the most wretched dorms that don’t even have air conditioning, but do have long dimly lit hallways out of a horror film.

Administration has its issues too. I might be biased because I hear all my dad’s complaints, but if faculty have to go on strike, and the losing football team’s coach is the highest paid public official in the state and the football team itself gets away with $40,000 in Doordash and Disney tickets, instead of using that money to make the dorms less wretched or keep the science lab’s roof from falling in, then it just doesn’t seem to me like the average student or faculty member is appreciated as much as they should be. Also, I’m a little mad they didn’t give me honors college, when more selective schools did.

Rutgers may have been my home my entire life and a very good school, but I’ve had enough of it, and money saved can’t remove enough of the disdain I have for it for me to want to go there and stay on the east coast. Sometimes, you just have to leave home.

Option three, Oregon State University, Corvallis main campus. My first acceptance and the school that knows how to show their appreciation for me. They wished me happy valentines, and happy birthday. They gave me a nice scholarship that would cover a little under one year of attendance.

Their website was my OG distraction from class- I know it’s deepest depths. If I go there, I’m going to major in Botany and I want to double minor in horticulture and forestry (they’re ranked number 1 in America for Forestry and 2nd in the world.) Their art, not so much. I can use all of my AP credit there too, which would probably chop off a year of schooling, saving me even more money. They run on a quarter system, and like Rutgers, they’re a research 1 institution, and undergrads in the Botany program are required to do a thesis related to botany to graduate, which I like. Plus they have a gym requirement that I can satisfy by taking a class in mountaineering, where my final is to ascend and descend a mountain successfully.

Their campus life is nice too. All students can go to sports games and use the gym for free, they have an emphasis on outdoor adventure and activities, and a bunch of interesting student organizations. They’re very queer friendly, and their dorms are nice too. The dorms I am set to live in have recently been renovated with beautiful kitchens and common areas, thankfully all doubles (most dorms there are triples,) and I’m in the outdoor adventure themed community (we take special group outdoors trips and are expected to get certified in Adventure Leadership.)

But now, I need to air my grievances against the school: It’s mediocre. Compared to other schools I got into, it’s not ranked very high except for specific programs like forestry, and their art program doesn’t catch my eye. The student body isn’t very diverse either, I saw Wwite people and only white people for miles. The town of Corvallis itself is sad, too. Like most schools I got into, it’s a large town surrounded by nothing but forests and farms for miles. But the downtown is half filled with empty storefronts, and the rest of town is nothing special. It’s nice, but sleepy and a bit bland.

Oregon State University is like the boy next door, but I don’t want to settle for something I feel is just meh. I want something more than what they can give me.

Suitor number four, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. They are my flashy school. Between the low acceptance rate, the name prestige, and the bougie tourist town, this is the school I’d go to if I want to show off and brag. Fun fact, Cal Poly SLO was the first school I ever wanted to go to, way back when in sophomore year.

What drew me into the school originally, is their “Learn by Doing” philosophy. From day one at Cal Poly, you are doing hands-on work in your major. My first day as a plant sciences major, I’d be in the greenhouse learning the fundamentals of plant propagation, unlike other schools where I’d be a junior before I’d take a class like that. The industry loves them too, companies pay to recruit their students, and companies like Boeing and Amazon have testing labs on campus that students work and take classes in. Plus they invited me to apply to their honors college, which I’m likely to get into.

Their clubs are fun, they’ve got a rodeo team, a really nice recreation center and outdoors adventures program, kitchens in dorms, free laundry, and even a comprehensive craft center with a surfboard making workshop.

I love the town of San Luis Obispo too. Sure, you can’t get an entree in downtown for less than $20 because it’s a tourist town, but that doesn’t matter to me. On Thursday nights, they have a massive farmers market that takes over almost six city blocks with acrobats, local farmers, and some really good tamale stands and ice cream trucks. Ag students like me even sell produce at the market. The town and the school are huge outdoors communities, the town is close to the beach and the mountain biking and hiking in the area are phenomenal. The landscape is gorgeous and I could spend the rest of my life exploring and staring at it.

All of those pros come with cons. Con number one- academic unflexibility. Since you do your major work day one, you have to declare your major on your application, and many of your general education requirements are not done in your first two years, making it hard to transfer. Plus, the acceptance rate is so low at the school because the majors only have a very specific number of students they can take, because the campus cannot expand, so switching majors is a huge ordeal and sometimes you can’t get the major you want. And, it’s the only school besides Pratt, which isn’t a research 1 institution, and since I want to be a researcher, that’s an important factor.

Con number two: It’s not diverse, and not necessarily liberal like other schools. The campus is very white, although not as white as Oregon State, but is ranked the most white of any California public university. The school has had many incidents of racism as well. My college specifically, the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, also has a reputation of being the conservative stronghold of the school (the school and surrounding area are known for leaning that way too.) Granted, the school is no Liberty University, but it’s still enough to make me slightly uncomfortable as a queer person of some color. They’ve got a reputation as a party school too, and a bunch of fraternities with poor reputations. And when I visited, I saw maybe one student on campus that I’d be friends with.

Con three: it’s inconvenient to get to. It’s truly in the middle of nowhere- it’s the biggest town for at least an hour and a half in any direction, and the population is less than Piscataway. It’s a six hour flight into San Francisco Airport or LAX, plus a three plus hour drive with at least one scary mountain pass. Every other cow town I got into is at most an hour from an airport with traffic.

There’s so much for me to love about Cal Poly, including that sexy name prestige and acceptance rate, but at the same time I’m not confident it’s a place I can easily grow and explore in while being myself.

School option number five: University of Oregon. Located in Eugene, Oregon, aka Tracktown USA. Like Cal Poly, they were also one of the first schools that I became interested in.

I first became interested in them because they offered one of the best product design programs on the west coast and in the United States. Funded by Uncle Phil (Knight,) and other generous donors like Columbia Sportswear, everything about this campus is flashy and new, especially the sports and recreation facilities, and of course the product design program, who have a whole furniture lab, sewing lab, and many, many fabrication studios and a separate campus in Portland. Even their science department has a fancy new biomedical engineering building with beautiful facilities and equipment, and of course a outdoor patio with heated benches and fire pits because even scientists need their butt warmed while they work.

What also drew me to Eugene was the culture. No surprise, I love running, and Eugene is the capital of running. Although I may not be a D1 athlete, as a UO student, I would still be able to achieve greatness on a world class running team- their club team, which anyone can join. Even my running coach here knows of the greatness of UO’s club team, which is coached by the retired women’s coach who won their track team multiple NCAA championships. Not only does Eugene love running, but they love the outdoors. Surrounded on all sides by nature and with an abundance of trees on campus, the school promotes being outdoors through their many outdoors classes and adventure recreation trips (sponsored by Columbia Sportswear of course.) They even tell visiting students to hike up this mountain when they visit called Spencer Butte (I did this.) The exercise and outdoors culture of Eugene and UO is complemented by their multitudes of delicious places to eat, because after hiking 8 miles up and down a mountain, you’re going to want to feast. On campus, I’ve had their dining hall food twice, and it made me want to commit based on it alone. Off campus, there’s five million dining options including the best pizza not found in New Jersey at a place called Hey Neighbor, Pizza House, and tons of vegan restaurants. The school and town are also super liberal and queer, so the people and the school make me feel very welcomed as a person and offer me tons of resources. And they’ve got a squirrel appreciation club where they feed the squirrels (and a whole lot more clubs,) flea markets on campus, a beautiful craft center and fancy new dorms with nice kitchens.

And lastly they gave me money, and they love AP credit. So there’s definitely financial incentive to bring me to Eugene.

Eugene and UO seem almost perfect, but nothing can truly be perfect. As much as I love their product design program, the program relocates me to the Portland campus for my fourth year and is so intensive that it’s near impossible to add a second major. That’s a big compromise for me if I can’t do biology and I don’t like that. I can compromise on design, but I can’t on biology, and biology in Eugene pales to biology at other schools I got into like Rutgers, in my opinion. I also feel like UO is a little too commercial and cares more about their athletes than the average student. The school is heavily branded and funded and they market the school to prospective students like me with money and flashy swag, rather than down-to-earth student experiences. They also love to talk about their athletics and how much they love their athletes and build them massive new stadiums. Yeah, sure I might not watch their football team lose every game like Rutgers does, but I don’t want to be reminded daily to love thy athlete neighbor, like they’re some god and I’m just a peasant side piece there to support them.

Eugene and University of Oregon are great and perfect for me in theory, but in practice they’re not exactly the dream that they could be.

Option six, University of California, Santa Cruz. I actually originally did not want to apply here, but then last summer, my parents told me that I should take a tour of it, and so I took a tour of their campus and I fell in love.

The campus is located on a hill overlooking Monterey Bay, and when you can’t see the ocean, you’re surrounded by redwood forest. It’s the most stunning campus I have ever stepped foot on, even beating out University of Washington for me. And when I say it’s in a redwood forest I mean it’s in a redwood forest- there’s hiking trails between buildings, bridges over gaping ravines, an amphitheater carved into a cliff face, and the campus backs up onto a state park. The campus has a very strong outdoors culture because of its proximity to nature and the surf- their adventure rec is exceptional, after my freshman year I can take part in a program called wilderness orientation where I spend a month backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas with my classmates, and when I visited I saw students repel off of a bridge into a ravine and wetsuits hanging to dry from dorm balconies. The school also is very environmentally friendly. You can refill your shampoo and conditioner for free, and they have a student farm that supplies their dining services.

I love the student culture of the school too. The school operates on a college system, where each residential community has a theme where students take liberal arts classes related to this theme together, and each college fosters a strong sense of community. When I visited, every single student that I saw walking around was cool and I wanted to be friends with them. There was no stress culture like some other schools have- students were relaxing in hammocks AND studying while enjoying the view. You can’t get a student body like that at Berkeley or Stanford. The school also has a really strong and vibrant queer community- their queer center is popping and throws events all the time with resources aplenty and one of the colleges hosts a pride celebration yearly, and every college has an LGBTQ+ floor. And it looked to me like a lot of the student body probably lived on one of those floors.

They’ve got an epic mascot too. Sammy the banana slug. Banana slugs are indigenous to the campus, and you can see them on your walk to class. They are also indigenous to the clothing at the campus bookstore where you can buy slug slippers and stuffed slugs or even the iconic slug shirt from Pulp Fiction.

Academically speaking the school’s great. They’re the home to the Human Genome Project, the nobel-prize winning project that sequenced the entire human genome and created the methods that make up the basis of a lot of modern bioinformatics, and also appears on the AP Biology test/curriculum. The school is named a public ivy and is a research 1 institution and the closest UC to Silicon Valley. Their art program is also nice too, and I would take a lot of inspiration from the surrounding landscape. The school also offered me their College Scholars Program, their honors program which guarantees me a laboratory position and priority class registration, and a $10,000 a year scholarship as incentive as well.

Lastly, the school is super close to my family. My uncle and cousins, who are elementary school age, live about fifteen minutes off the hill. By going to school there, I’d be able to be a part of their lives, and my uncle, an avid surfer and fisherman, could take me surfing and fishing. Plus, I love their dog, Osa Blanca, the world’s fluffiest Great Pyrenees. My uncle is also a beloved teacher at a local middle school, and many of his former students go to UC Santa Cruz, so I have hella street cred on campus.

Housing at UC Santa Cruz is an absolute nightmare. Since the campus is in a redwood forest, the school, the town, and local environmentalists often clash over the expansion of the school. While the state tells the school to take more students, instead of being allowed to build more housing, the school is forced to overcrowd a little bit. This means almost all of the dorm rooms at the school are triple rooms, which aren’t the end of the world but still not ideal. Some of the rooms even happen to be hextuple, or house six students- which is an absolute nightmare. And moving off campus isn’t much better. Students have either had horrible issues or no problem at all moving off of campus, but no matter their experience attaining housing- a one bedroom apartment will go for over $2,000 a month easily. It’s ugly. Housing on campus at Santa Cruz is already expensive, but moving off of campus is even more. I may have a scholarship, but it’s completely negated by the fact that housing costs so much, and the school is very expensive. People complain about the dining hall food too, although when I had it, it wasn’t half bad.
The campus is a little isolated and sleepy too- it’s calm, but a little too calm. To get on and off the campus, you have to go up and down a very steep hill, and then go through a bunch of expensive neighborhoods before you hit your first commercial area. And apparently Santa Cruz has no asian food stores, which is a problem for me because Filipino food fends off homesickness.
Although I want to be close to my family by going to Santa Cruz, it’s also too close to my family. My family has a lot of drama. It doesn’t involve me personally, but it’s annoying to hear about it all the time and I get sick of hearing about it very quickly.

UC Santa Cruz is an obvious choice for me, and I would really like to go there, and the cons aren’t the worst in the world and I can live with them, but they’re still cons.

Lastly, option seven, UC Davis. Twenty minutes outside of Sacramento in the Central Valley, and surrounded by farms and cows, and with a high temperature of 89 degrees today, I’ve got a strange familial connection to this school through my father.

The stand out factor at Davis is their academics. I’ve never previously talked about rankings in these articles because I tend to think they’re irrelevant, compared to name recognition, student experience, and the reputation of a specific program. Davis happens to be the only top 50 school I got into (Rutgers is ranked 51st,) and they are third in Agricultural Sciences, and second in the world and first in the US for veterinary school (not like I want to be a vet.) I also know many biologists who went to Davis at some point in their career, at least four of them being Rutgers faculty. I know that if I end up at Davis, I will get a top-tier biology and agricultural education, potentially better than anywhere else. The nice thing about Davis too, is that they have a design program as well. It’s mediocre compared to the programs I got into at Pratt and University of Oregon, but at least they have it, and like I said earlier, I can compromise on design, but I can’t compromise on biology. And if I don’t end up liking the major I was admitted for at Davis, plant sciences, there’s like ten other majors that really interest me there, all of which are top tier, and easy to switch into. I also like Davis academically because they have so many fun classes. There’s tractor driving, coffee brewing, mushroom farming, and a film class where all they do is watch vampire movies. Why can’t PHS have this elective selection?

Davis may be hot and flat and kind of rural, but it’s anything but sleepy. The only time it’s sleepy is in the summer, but even then it’s still really nice and happening and the best restaurant in town, Crepeville, will have a line out the door within fifteen minutes of opening. When students are on campus, it’s full of energy. Between classes, there’s masses of bicycles taking to the bike paths that are essentially streets. Students lay in the sun to study and watch the sheep mow the campus lawns. Yes, there’s frat parties too, although not many, that for some reason start at 7 am. The school also has very strong traditions too. When I visited, I was there for Picnic Day, the biggest tradition there, which is like Rutgers Day, but with a battle of the marching bands, dachshund races, a parade, and like five million other events. They also have Whole Earth Day, which is a massive hippie festival. They have a tradition of Gunrock, their mascot, will lead all the students who are wearing pajamas through downtown, and all first years take a lap around the football field before the start of the first home football game. Outside of the school, the town of Davis holds a huge farmers market twice a week, and many other fun events like flea markets and even two very famous bike races that my dad likes to compete in every year.

The people make Davis great too. The school is very diverse, although not as good as Rutgers, but still very diverse, both ethnically and personality wise. When I walked through campus, there were a lot of people I would be friends with, but also a bunch I wouldn’t traditionally. The townspeople of Davis are cool too. I particularly liked this one funky grandpa who was riding an even funkier bike that I saw. Everyone there is friendly and welcoming. The school’s chancellor, Chancellor Gary May, is beloved because he’s always on campus interacting with the students, working out at a student recreation center, taking selfies, getting really excited about squirrels and really showing that he cares about the school and the students. He even let the students send in their insults to him, and he responded to them on instagram hilariously.

At Davis, I can live in the dorms that look across to the cows, and for dinner I can eat at their dining halls that earned them a spot in the top 100 best college food in America rankings. Based on their menus, a freshman thirty might be in my future. If I want to work off everything I eat at the dining halls, I can go to their very nice recreation center, or go on one of their numerous outdoor adventure programs, or even ride the horse I brought to school (students are allowed to bring their pet horses to live at their equestrian center. I don’t own a horse.) Their recreation program also runs their craft center, which includes ceramics, glass, printmaking, sewing, wood, metal, painting, photo, and textile studios, which would become my new dorm room if I went there. When I’m not studying or in the craft center, I can join one of their over 500 clubs, including four different stand up comedy clubs. Another great place for me to spend my time would be their very nice pride center, which is even home to a special organization that provides cost free gender affirming care to trans people in need. Very cool Davis, very cool.

Lastly, it’s close to family, but also not too close. I can crash on my grandma’s sofa for Thanksgiving, but I won’t be so close that I’d be asked to drive her so that she can go shopping every week.

Everything I like about Davis comes with a price, though. And I mean PRICE. Davis costs the most of any school I got into. Santa Cruz may be the exception, since cost of living after the first year is so much more expensive, since Davis might be the only place left in California where you can get a two bedroom condo for $700 a month and you don’t need a car. I also can’t use any of my AP credits except for Lang, so I can’t save money that way. Davis doesn’t have the nicest weather in my opinion either. From the months of late April to mid-october, you are baked alive in 100+ degrees and cloudless skies. In winter, sometimes the fog won’t lift for two weeks straight. When my dad was a student, it was dense fog for an entire month one year. You also can’t drink the tap water in Davis, and when you take a shower you always feel slimy afterwards.
Davis, everything single thing that I wanted in a school, but at a price.

Now we’ve come to the point of today’s entry where I tell you all where I committed tonight. I’m a future UC Davis Cal Aggie, everyone. To be completely honest, it was a tough race between Santa Cruz and Davis, but to me the people of Davis and especially Chancellor May is what made me choose them. On the side of the price, I’m not going to go too far into my financial situation- but we’re making it work. Yeah, the cost is going to hurt, but I’m no med or law school person. Grad school for biologists like me works differently, I get paid to attend instead of me paying them, so a big cost now isn’t the end of the world, especially if it means I get world-class research opportunities and a strong academic background to get me into those grad schools. I got a scholarship too, for a thousand dollars last week from the Raritan Valley Road Runners, pretty much covering all of my books for next year, which really helps.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2023

I filled out my UC Davis housing application today, all that’s left for me to do regarding housing is finding a roommate or two. Since I committed late and housing is first come, first serve, I’m in all likelihood going to end up in a triple. At least I can choose my roommates, although Davis’ roommate matching is very bare bones. I know their major, their name, what state they’re from and their living habits. My friend going to NJIT gets essentially roommate tinder. I’m stuck here hoping that Scott H. is cool and that they respond to me.

In other news, I got waitlisted from the Cal Poly honors program, despite my great essays. It doesn’t matter to me anymore anyways. Congrats to those who got in, I guess. I’m a little annoyed that technically this is my sixth waitlisting though. I’m a little tired of being called the backup.

Thursday, April 27th, 2023

I’ve started to decline schools, and I really don’t like it. Everytime I get close to sending off my application withdrawal, I feel like I could be throwing away an opportunity and I get nervous. Davis is great, and I’m glad I decided on them but I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering how I would have turned out if I chose University of Oregon, UCSC, or even Cal Poly or Rutgers.

Earlier today, one of my classmate’s moms drove past me on the way to pick him up, and she congratulated me on my commitment to Davis. As a former Aggie herself, she was really happy to see me as a future Aggie, and told me I’d love it. I think I really made a good choice, because everyone who I’ve met who went to Davis loved it. I’ve heard absolutely no complaints from anyone, and that’s a really good sign.

I’ve been really struggling lately with the fact that I didn’t get into my top choices, and other students from school did. I see their commitment posts and their tiktoks about the school and I get jealous that they’re going to their top choice and I’m not. I start to wonder how they are better than me, when I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in my four years, what on earth did they do? I’ve been reminding myself a lot recently why I chose Davis, why I really liked it, and it’s really helped me. I want to go to Davis, it wasn’t my first choice, but that’s not going to stop me from making the best of my experience there. I’ve grown to really like Davis, to the point where if I get off the waitlist at San Diego, or University of Washington, or Berkley, I don’t think I’ll go.

Monday, May 1st, 2023

It’s decision day! People showed up to school in their school shirts and hoodies, and I finally figured out who’s the person who’s going to Cornell this year from PHS. There were lots of Rutgers of course, because it’s Piscataway and everyone goes to Rutgers which is great for them. The counselors during lunch had everyone fill out a little pennant with their future plans and had a photo booth for seniors to take pictures in. My friend, a junior, accidentally wore a Harvard hoodie today and got congratulated by a bunch of people, it was kind of funny. The whole day was kind of anti-climactic, except for maybe the person who runs the commitments instagram page who’s been working overtime.

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

I started my “Aggie 101” online orientation today. A lot of it was repeated information, but some of it was actually useful, like how to schedule my first advising session. It even required me to play little games like matching and a word search to learn information about the school.

Update: 6:30 PM

I have received two emails from UC Davis and I do not like them. They are informing me I am required to take math and chemistry placement exams next week. So this means next week, I’m taking Ap Calc, Ap Bio, and chem and math placements. I’m required to take three sections of calculus and chemistry for my major, which means I have to be placed into them otherwise it’s going to take me longer to graduate. I’m worried now because I can’t remember a single thing about chemistry (thank you Covid year,) and my geometry and trig skills have long been forgotten to make space for the fundamental theorem of calculus and the power rule. So I guess I’m going to be cramming algebra and trig and chemistry this weekend. There’s also a writing placement too, but that’s due later.

Sunday, May 7th, 2023

So I just randomly checked my spam email, and turns out I got off of the Mason Gross waitlist last Wednesday? I swear that I didn’t opt into that but here I am I guess. Unfortunately I am still not planning on attending Rutgers, so I hope they give it to someone else who wants to go. Also, this serves as your reminder to check your spam.

Unrelated, but I now have a roommate for next year. His name is Daniel, and he’s from Idaho. He’s taking 8 AP tests, and he’s really good at math, which means I now have a personal calculus tutor.

Wednesday, May 10th 2023

AP tests are done! And I have no more real work for the rest of the year, which is so cool. Also, I took my chemistry placement test tonight, without studying more than a little refresher on stoicheomitry, and I got a 28/44 without cheating. The minimum amount I needed to get into the chemistry I wanted was 24/44, but to place into the harder chemistry for chemistry/physics/engineering majors you needed a 28/44. Either prayers are real or Davis has a very low expectation of the chemistry I need to know. I will not be taking the hard chemistry though- I do not want to die.

I also started their online advising program, Aggie Advising. In it, they say not to take more than two stem classes your first quarter, even if you’re a stem major, and no more than 16 credits. However, I do not like following their little rules. I want to take 3 stem classes and 18 credits. But I’m also not stupid, or all that stubborn, so instead of trying to do chemistry, biology, calculus and intro to design, I’m probably going to drop calculus for my first quarter and take it starting in winter.

Saturday, May 13th, 2023

If you got waitlisted don’t give up hope. My friend got off the NYU waitlist last night. I don’t think she’s going to go, but it still proves waitlisting at a prestigious school is not just a nicer rejection, it’s like an extended deferral.

Saturday, May 27th, 2023

I have MASSIVE news everyone. I got off of the University of Washington waitlist. They sent me a financial aid email, and I was like that’s strange. And then it hit me that maybe I got off the waitlist and so I logged onto their portal and I did. I’m actually kind of happy but now also sort of stressed because now I need to make a decision between my original dream school and the school I’ve kind of grown to love. I’ve got two weeks to decide.

Friends, I guess it’s time to leave you on your own journey. I won’t be able to truly complete the article since Berkeley and San Diego can all get back to me about my admissions status after I graduate from PHS. But as of now, I’m a proud UC Davis Cal Aggie or UW Huskie, and it took a lot of work to get here. The process was an emotional rollercoaster and I am so glad that it is over. I think we’ve all learned a lot over these past ten months. I wish you luck on your own process, and signing off for the final time,

Percy Singson