A New Home: My First Month at Emory

I have had my heart set on Emory ever since the beginning of my junior year in high school. I attended an information session having never heard of Emory before, partly out of interest, and partly in effort to miss my English class, which conflicted with the session. Every photo and fact about the school that was presented only piqued my interest even more. I left knowing that Emory was high up on my college list.

I attended Emory’s Pre-College Program in the summer before my senior year to take a class in Human Anatomy and to spend more time on campus. I left the program knowing that Emory was my first choice school and that I wanted to apply early decision. I had fallen in love with the brightness and friendliness that radiates off of Emory’s campus, and I knew my heart belonged right there in Atlanta.

Writing my application was stressful, to say the least. After weeks and weeks of ripping up potential essay responses, scratching out grammatical errors, and feeling like giving up, I pressed the submit button, not knowing that the most agonizing part was yet to come: waiting.

I waited and I waited. Finally the day came: December 15. I sat by the computer all day, waiting for the clock to strike 5:00 P.M. And once it did, this is what happened.

The sequence of me getting into Emory.

What came next was just pure excitement that lasted for the eight months leading up to school starting. I found my roommate, I signed up for classes, and I was ready.

Of course, the first few days of college were a little bit difficult for everyone. College is a huge a adjustment–one that nobody is really ready for. I had to say goodbye to my parents, learn how to do laundry, and get accustomed to sustaining myself. But, I was never sad. I never wanted to go home and climb into my own bed, because every single new friend I met made me feel more and more at home. The warm smiles and the friendly faces I was greeted with only served to reassure me that I was in the right place. The people at Emory truly reflect the warm vibe that the campus gives off.

Although I met incredible people all over campus, my current best friends just so happen to live on my floor. These girls are the reason why my experience at Emory has been amazing so far. I go to bed after our daily movie and game nights with a smile on my face, having comfort in the fact that my support system is right outside my door.

Me with some of my hall mates.

My friends and I love to hang out together on campus and have chill nights inside, but when you’re living in Atlanta, some nights you just have to go out and explore. I went to the Fall Festival at Old Fourth Ward Park, the Lantern Festival at the Beltline, and shopping at Lenox Square Mall. For those nights when I didn’t feel up for leaving campus, however, Emory had me covered. I have attended a comedy show by the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, a foam party, and a silent disco–all on-campus and Emory-sponsored. The fact that events such as these happen all the time remind me that Emory really cares about students having fun and being social as much as they care about them succeeding in academics.

Me with my friend Lori at Lullwater Park.

The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had have been wonderful, but what has stuck out to me the most has been the community support. Everybody is here to lift each other up and encourage each other to accomplish their goals. Coming from a competitive high school, it’s a breath of fresh air to witness others genuinely wanting me to succeed in everything I do. Rather than my classmates secretly wishing I have a bad interview so I don’t get the position I’m trying for in a club, I receive multiple texts from my friends before and after the interview wishing me good luck and asking me how it went. Having such a strong and reliable support system makes me feel at home and as if I really belong here. I couldn’t be more thankful to be surroundedby people who want the best for me, just like I want the best for them.

My friends and I after winning songfest!

So my advice to high schoolers applying to college is this: follow your heart. It sounds cheesy, but seriously, do it. Students from my high school applied to schools based on their rankings and their names, but in the long run, this only hurt them. Just go with your gut. I did it, and I wouldn’t wanted to have ended up anywhere else. It’s only been four weeks, but I can honestly and truthfully say that I am home.

(Above is the beginning of a personal project I am working on. I am recording one second of every day of my first year at Emory–minus a few when I forget–and the final result will be a compilation of my first year in college. I also started about a week late.)

By Kate Monger

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