It would be a little bit of an understatement to say that I am in love with Rice. Ever since middle school, I’ve dreamed of wearing the blue and gray colors of our school. My adoration and respect for everything Rice began with a small project in eighth grade that required us to pick one college in the United States and learn all we could about it. While most people presented on the Ivies or state schools, I somehow stumbled upon Rice. If I look back on it now, it was probably because I thought it was a strange name for a school. Whatever the case, I can’t think of how my life would be different now without that first spark of interest that was ignited when I discovered Rice. It was important to me that my future home not only have stellar academics, but also have an environment that was diverse, accepting, and supportive. The more I read about it, the more I realized that Rice was as unconventional as its motto, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. Every day after my presentation on Rice, I resolved to go to the university of my dreams and not let anything get in my way.
When people asked where I wanted to go to college in high school, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation before I would say, “Rice University” with a kind of unabashed pride and certainty. The usual response ranged from polite nods when they didn’t recognize the name (very few people at my school did) to excited exclamations and questions about the future. It didn’t bother me when people didn’t know about Rice – I was more than happy to enlighten them, much to their annoyance, I’m sure – because it had never been about the title or prestige to me. The only comments that did bother me were those that tried to discourage me, even though I’m sure they were made in good faith. Such comments included things like, “oh, well, you know not many people get in, and they’re looking for a specific sort of person.” Yes, I would think, nothing worth having comes easy, and what do you mean specific sort of person? Why can’t that person be me? For every handful of positive comments I would receive, there was sure to be a single negative one that would plant itself in my head and eat away at my resolve. What I hope to convey to any prospective Rice Owl is to not be discouraged by what others say and to realize that you can achieve the things you want, regardless of your race, gender, or economic status. One of the great things about Rice is that it supports the achievers and dreamers. There is not one all-encompassing mold that represents what it means to be a Rice student – the incredibly unique and diverse student body here is proof of that.
With those ideals in mind, I applied to Rice, knowing that it would be difficult and that I would have to rely on the generosity of the university or others to be able to attend. Receiving that acceptance letter was one of the best feelings in the world. I think of it sometimes when I’m walking on campus, passing by the beautiful trees so quickly that I forget to admire my surroundings. I think of it when I’m staying up to do work, and it’s so early I can start to see the glow of dawn. I think of it when I see other students and wonder at the nature of fate and how we all ended up in one place at one time. Most of all, I try to think of it as a reminder to stay grateful and to remember that I am here for a reason.