Vivian tells us about how her mom and dad set up a plan behind her back in order for her to get a job during her high school years.

Part 2 is here.

Transcription

Kamila
Hey, college kids, welcome back to my podcast, who cares about college? In this episode, I’ll be interviewing Vivian. So could you please introduce yourself? Yeah,

Vivian
of course. Hey, guys, my name is Vivian Garcia, I use she her pronouns. And I am a third year student at the University of Virginia from Leesburg, Virginia, which is located up north. And I’m doing quite a bit. I’m a double major with econ and sociology, and a minor in our public policy school.

Kamila
So we’ll get to like, you know, college and majors a little bit later. But let’s start at the very beginning. So can you tell me how education is viewed in your family and how that impacted, you know, going into high school and how you approach the college process?

Vivian
Yeah, of course, um, I’d say that my parents, especially my dad, enforced the importance of education from a very young age. So he likes to talk about kind of his own experience growing up, and he just likes to say he hated school did not care about it whatsoever, was always the kid in the back of the class not paying attention. He was known as the class clown, kind of just that stereotype. If you guys know what I’m saying, in my mom was the complete opposite. She was the stereotypical teacher’s pet, I guess you could say sitting front row staying after to ask multiple questions. And it wasn’t until my dad went to college that he kind of saw how important it is to take it seriously. And education really can open up so many doors for you. So once they both met in college, they were kind of had that similarity that they wanted to make sure that their kids had all the right chances and had as many opportunities as possible to get however much education they wanted to pursue. So I think from a young age, I’ve always known schools really important. But if it’s something that’s not my path, like college, for example, that’s not something I see fit for myself. It was never forced, it was just like, recommended and highly encouraged if it was something I wanted to go after, if that makes sense. Yeah.

Kamila
And whether this was like your parents or maybe like a sibling, did you have anyone at home to help guide you during the college process and explain to you what it means to have a GPA? What is the sh t, AC T extracurriculars, letters of recommendation? So did you have anyone to help you guide you?

Vivian
Yeah, so we’ll get into that in like a second, just to set some background and context, both of my parents immigrated from Peru in the late 1980s. So they’ve been here for about 32 years now. So they didn’t go to undergraduate or High School in lower education in the States. So I didn’t really know that much from them. My older sister, she’s 10 years older, actually went to UVA as well. So she was really helpful in that process. And my parents were still really interested in helping me out and supporting me in any way. So they were always open to learn about what a GTI is, or what’s the best, like an sh t or AC T, kind of which one what schools preferred. They were always there in case I needed someone to help me search with, but they didn’t really have the answers, if that makes sense. I definitely depended on my sister and high school counselors and teachers for that.

Kamila
And when you did enter high school, because I think most people start actually thinking about college in high school. Nobody really thinks about it much in middle school. So did you have like an idea of which college you wanted to go to early on from high school? Or was it more like, kind of random and like, see where I get in and then pick from there?

Vivian
Yeah, so as I mentioned, I guess I kind of am the anomaly since my sister was 10 years older. When I was eight. She was just entering her first year. So kind of from then I knew UVA was the place but then when I became a junior in high school, and I kind of started looking more seriously into college, I kind of wanted to do my own path and was like, Oh, I don’t want to do UVA, obviously, because my sister went there. But then senior year, I went to tour all the places I applied to and just UVA definitely felt the most at home for me.

Kamila
And just one quick thing before we get into like actually no GPA PSAT and such Was it important for you to stay in Virginia? whether that’d be like, you know, financial reasons or just being close to your family? Or were you open to, I don’t know, going to a school in Maryland or California or like Florida?

Vivian
Yeah, I always knew I wanted to stay on the East Coast. My dream school was Columbia in New York City. So that was always something I’ve had in mind. But even if I couldn’t go to school there, I knew like at some point, I’d end up in New York, hopefully. But staying somewhat closer to Virginia was definitely something in mind.

Kamila
So now we can get into actual college application stuff. So first is like, the part of the transcript is the grades of the test scores. So at the end of high school senior year, what was your GPA in the end, both unweighted and weighted? And can you give the scale because every school does it differently?

Vivian
Yeah, so I don’t think the school ever told us the scale from just like memory of what are valedictorians had a couple years when I was in high school? I think the highest I ever heard was a 4.8. I don’t know if anything went higher. That was weighted, of course. And at the end of high school, I graduated with a 4.43 weighted, probably heavily weighted because APs and honors and all those classes were definitely recommended, if not required if students wanted to get into bigger, like more competitive schools. And then unweighted. I don’t know the number specifically, but I guess like high threes, low fours.

Kamila
Okay. And in terms of your actual High School, was your high school, public, private and like really competitive? Did they offer a lot of APs and send a bunch of kids to top

Vivian
schools? Yeah, so I went to a public high school in Loudoun County. I would say it was pretty competitive, especially within like the top 10 20% of each class. And I don’t think many students from my school went to any Ivy League’s UVA was pretty popular. I know, we had a couple of go to MIT, but it was definitely more UVA, Virginia Tech JMU. A lot of schools going into, like local Virginia schools. But I still think even if those weren’t like, as highly competitive or educationally, I’m sorry, I don’t know the word. They weren’t very, like well known. Schools for academics, if that makes sense, like colleges, but it was still really competitive to get into so not to say that UVA is the best school out of Virginia, but obviously, I am biased. So I wouldn’t believe that. Um, but no matter what school it was, it was really competitive, just because there was kind of a thought that since all of us are from Northern Virginia, every school can’t accept every single applicant from Northern Virginia. So kind of was like some competition. But I think that most people ended up going where their first choice was.

Kamila
And okay, so you gave us your GPA? Can you give us the APS and the honors that like, at least in the end, how many you took in final? And then what was the average score you got on those tests? The AP test?

Vivian
Yeah, so I definitely think senior itis the fatigue of high school and ready to move on to college hit me pretty hard in junior year. So that doesn’t really make much sense, because I wasn’t even about to graduate. But I’m definitely not much of a study or I have changed my ways since coming to UVA. So some of the AP exams that I ended up taking AP Calculus, AB and BC, on AP gov government, AP US History, pre AP US History, I kind of took any main course. So like science, math, history, English, that like AP Language, AP Literature, I took all of those exams in those classes. I got threes on all those. And I know that’s not impressive whatsoever. But I still like to think that UVA doesn’t look at just scores, for example, or just an LSAT score, if we like mentioned that later. It’s definitely like a more, a more holistic approach that they look for in their students, which I think is something really important to let people know who are thinking of applying today that you don’t need a perfect GPA or a perfect LSAT score, or have fives and all of your exams, if you’re just a well rounded, passionate student. It’s going to work out in your favor, I think.

Kamila
And I know we’re gonna we’re getting a little ahead with this question, but I just want to know, just you know, I just want to know for certain so you did take quite a number of APs and with you know, top schools, they barely accept any credits like they’ll take it in as general but they won’t like excuse your excuse you from any classes. But with UVA, are you able to like graduate early or are you able to take harder courses because you have those AP credit? And three is a passing for you? I think three is a passing so many schools do accept that.

Vivian
Yeah, so Unfortunately, UVA does not accept threes for many classes to place out, it did accept it for an intro calculus math levels, so I was able to kind of move on to the second one. But it does allow you to get some of your general credits out of the way, especially for certain majors. So the economics major at UVA, if started pretty early, meaning you know, you want to do something in econ or business, you can definitely finish within three years, I have a couple of peers who are finishing within three years, personally, because I’m being a little extra and trying to double major and have a minor I won’t be able to finish in three years, but it’s definitely plausible with some majors.

Kamila
Okay, okay. So we’ve gone through GPA AP, let’s move on to another part, which is essay to AC t. So which one did you take? I took the LSAT, CT. And can you tell us the preparations for SAP when you started? How you prepared and then what you got in the end?

Vivian
Yeah, so as I mentioned, I’m not really into studying, which is why I knew I needed to start earlier, just so that there’s more time for me to kind of just do one hour here when I were there instead of three or four hours a day. So the thing that I found best was flashcards and I got those off Amazon Prime. And I use those all the time, even if it was just going over 10. One day, they were kind of just read this sentence, and how can you grammatically fix it? Or what’s the grammatical error? Or a math question? So those came really helpful, and were easy to just kind of throw in your bag and carry. My parents definitely offered to sign me up for tutoring classes to help with the LSAT. I just personally didn’t think I needed them probably should have taken up the offer a little too late now. So I think I said started maybe six months before I took my first one. My high school had like the PSATs. So I was able to take those and see what my score was without studying for them. So it was definitely helpful to know like the baseline of what I was working with and what I potentially could get up to. And my last score my I think my super score was a 1340. The best I did on any individual one was a 1320.

Kamila
So and the 1340 you send to all your schools, right? Yeah. And I have one question about your school as well. So you did say it was a public school and relatively, like competitive? So in your high school itself? Did they really? How would you, I guess you could say hold your hand is what a lot of people say for like competitive schools that they like hold your hand through the process, you know, like say, oh, here we offer LSAT prep courses, or we’ll get into this later, but your application essays. I know some schools have every student write an essay, and then the English teachers will review it and give them feedback. So does your school have kind of the same structure? Like my schools definitely hold our hand like tells us every step we should be doing? So did your school do the same with multiple components of your application?

Vivian
Um, no, I think it was definitely up to some of your teachers or your specific guidance counselor, mind back in high school was very close to retirement, not to say that was discouraging them from helping out students. But I don’t think they were as passionate about it as they maybe once were. So they definitely did not hold my hands on. I remember, like, just to add a little anecdote from it. I was really passionate, I think at that moment, saying UVA was the place. And they were like, oh, there’s no way you get in with your GPA and your LSAT, and I was kind of like, wow, they’re right, like I won’t. So maybe I should reevaluate everything. Um, but thankfully, I still applied and gave it a chance. So there were definitely some teachers, my AP Lit, teacher, Mr. Barry Blair from Loudoun County, he is in amazing he encouraged us to reach out to him with any help we needed for the application. So he definitely edited all of my common app essays and questions specifically for all the schools. So there were some teachers and staff who went above and beyond in making sure like if we needed that help, it was there. But I don’t think the school as a whole helped out.

Kamila
That’s interesting. Why would they say like, Oh, you have no chance at UVA. I mean, you got in.

Vivian
It was it was quite an interesting meeting. I remember we were we always had a mandatory meeting with our counselors. I think we had three of them throughout the end of junior and beginning of senior year to kind of go over our college application and like next step of what we’re going to do after we graduate and just make sure we’re on track to graduate high school. So everyone was like, Yeah, I had the best meeting with my counselor. I was so excited to go in. And then I remember coming out and just crying in the hallway and I was like, I’m really like, not going to end up anywhere. I want this. It’s going to go so badly. And I remember telling my parents my dad is so packed like I’m the youngest daughter. Have to so I still seen as a baby in his eyes and he’s like, willing to protect me until the end. So he was like, give me the name of this guy. I’m gonna go in and make sure and I’m like, No, it’s okay guys, like, I just need to work hard, and I’ll end up.

Kamila
Me ended up working on the end, so that’s good. So okay, let’s go to extracurriculars. Now, again, take me through the extracurriculars that you did you know, how much of a time commitment were they? And how long did you do them for?

Vivian
Yeah, so the thing that I did the longest was soccer I’ve played since I was five years old. I didn’t join a travel team, until my I’ll say eighth grade going into ninth grade to the transition between middle and high school. So before travel, soccer, it wasn’t really that much of a time commitment, a practice once a week, and then a game once a week. So it was maybe three hours tops, definitely once I got on a travel team, the commitment stepped up pretty heavily. There were practices probably three or four times a week for two hours. So I finished school do that. And then there were two games on the weekends, probably like an hour or so away. And so that was when I was on. I wasn’t the best soccer player. I’ll just throw that out there right now. Definitely, people would ask like, oh, what position do you play? I was like, oh, left bench, like, did pretty well in that spot. Um, so I wasn’t on that good of a team. I think it was sophomore year of high school, I got on a pretty well known team in the area. And so that’s when it picked up even more, because since they were so well known, they wanted to keep that pretty good reputation going. So it was mostly four or five practices a week. And then games that were like two hours away tournament’s that would last the whole weekend. And so I did that up until junior year of high school. And so when I was doing that, I also tried out for soccer at the high school. It didn’t work out my freshman year was devastated. And I was like, wow, like, it’s really not that good. I should probably stop now. But my dad was like, nope, like, you can still keep trying. So I tried out my sophomore year ended up making it on the junior varsity team. And then my junior year, I made it on the varsity team. Um, most of our sports were if it wasn’t football, football was very highly prioritized at our high school. And I’d say most of Loudoun County, so we never really got that much good field time. So we wouldn’t be in the optimal. Four to six o’clock time after school. When the sun shining, everything’s great. We would be usually in the mornings before school started at 5:45am. Yep. And I quickly got used to that. Um, and so when we’d have like the occasional practice after school, everyone was like, wow, this is, this is what all the big guys get to play with. And we are stuck in the freezing cold. But it was definitely fun. I made some pretty good friends there. And then another sport I picked up freshman year was field hockey. Field Hockey was definitely a newer sport in Loudoun County. There were a couple travel teams or rec leagues, but it definitely wasn’t as big as lacrosse or soccer or softball, for example. And then I think it was my sophomore or junior year of high school, Loudoun County picked up field hockey as a varsity sport. So before it was just kind of a club associated with the high school, and now it was an actual varsity sport. And so for that we had morning practices too, because that was fall season, Primetime for football practicing. So it was either practice at 6am, or practice at 9pm. So everyone voted obviously, before school. And yeah, so I’d say those practices where every day, during the week, unless if we had a game, then there was no practice. Same for soccer. So I’d say during the week, I was pretty busy. So weekends were definitely major time to do schoolwork. And something my high school definitely enforce it was up to the coaches on how far they wanted to enforce this was having homework hours or study breaks. So before a game, for example, the game didn’t start until 6pm. Right after school, we’d have two hours of homework time. And it was we’d all go into a classroom and there wasn’t really anything you could do. Some coaches would make people put their phones at the front of the classroom so that they were forced to actually work on stuff. Of course, other coaches were, it’s totally up to you. If you guys want to not do homework and fail out of classes. That’s your personal decision. And so it kind of was up to the individual athlete, student athlete, I guess you’d call us. I don’t like using that term. And it was said that, don’t you like it? Oh, because I just think I shouldn’t use it. Definitely not like when I think of a student athlete, I think of a D one student athlete and I’m just like picturing myself as a benchwarmer referring to that term.

Vivian
But it was definitely important for some coaches and I’d say my field hockey coach took it the most important for us to get homework done and There were requirements, if you weren’t passing a class, for example, you couldn’t play. And she really did take that to the heart to heart, which was awesome, because I know some coaches definitely let some things slide just because they wanted to make sure their players could play. So that’s on the sports side. And then for clubs, I was really, really involved in DECA. For those who don’t know what DECA is, it was a marketing in business club that kind of led up to three major competitions, districts, states and nationals. And you were either set to do a roleplay. So you would kind of get a scenario to plan out what you would say in front of a judge. So for example, it could be this extraor, for example, target is about to go out of business, how are what are some marketing strategies that you would recommend to them to try and keep afloat? So you would have about I think it was 1520 minutes to prepare for that. And then you would present it in front of a random judge. And then they would score you and if you placed high enough, you would move on to the next level. And then the last thing was nationals. So I did that since freshman year. I competed in I can’t remember the exact area. But I think, oh, retail, just because I had worked multiple retail jobs, all throughout high school. So I thought this was definitely something that I was better at. And it definitely helped having some experience working in retail stores and working with customer service on how to handle some of the scenarios that they would throw at you. But it wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I was co president of our DECA chapter that I was able to write a report for our school store. And we ended up going to national sport. And I think we placed top 300 in the nation, which I thought was pretty fun. Obviously, you’re aiming for something a little higher. But it was still an awesome experience to be able to go to Atlanta, Georgia, I’d never been there before. So it was really fun. And then I was also really involved in Key Club, which is a service organization. And it was just kind of ways for high school students to get involved in our local communities. So some stuff we really did was work with the feeder schools. So like the elementary schools that will end up feeding into our high school, we would go and hold Halloween events, drives for them or have babysitting hours. For any teachers at our high school who had students that went to these feeder schools, we would host babysitting hours or babysitting days, sometimes for them. So that was definitely, I’d say something that was at the back of my mind more that club because I was more focused on DECA. But now that I’ve gotten to college, I’ve now realized how important community service was to me back then, and I definitely should have devoted more time towards it.

Kamila
So first, we’re going to talk about deca, because that’s the first one you mentioned. And you said it was about marketing. And of course you chose which field of marketing marketing you wanted to go into. And you are in economics now. So did you kind of know from a young age, like where you wanted to go what you wanted to pursue in life?

Vivian
Yeah, I think my freshman year of high school, when I joined deca, I was definitely just a baby freshmen not really knowing much about any organizations just wanting to get more involved in. So I didn’t really learn much of what DECA was. And I didn’t start competing until my sophomore year of high school. And that’s when I started taking more marketing and business classes and seeing that I really am interested in the corporate world. And going into that field. When I had originally applied to UVA, I knew of the McIntyre school, the commerce school, because my parents really wanted my older sister to go into that when she was here. And they really wanted me to go into that. So for background, both of them started out as accountants, so they really pushed commerce in the business side of things more. And then it wasn’t until I was actually here taking the prerequisites for applying to the Commerce school, I realized that’s not what I wanted to do so much as but I’m still interested in the business side. So I thought economics was a good major to have to kind of give me that background and foundation in business without having to apply into the commerce school.

Kamila
Yeah. And can you tell me again, so you were co president of the club in being a president of any club just sounds impressive on college applications. So can you tell me the process like getting climbing yourself up to that position senior year?

Vivian
Yeah. So I’d say that once I set my eyes on something, it’s pretty hard to kind of move my focus on anything else. And in high school, all of our teachers, all of my friends, older siblings, everyone just was always saying how important it is to be involved in stuff for your college applications, but not just be a general member of five clubs. It’s important to have leadership positions. So I knew I wanted to have some sort of position and I did not think in Anyway, I was going to become president, what actually happened was our senior year, my marketing teacher and DECA advisor did not really believe in having a president just because of the past couple years, there were some issues with the President not taking into account all the members decisions or ideas and kind of being just too controlling on The Club. And so she really wanted it to be just an executive board without any president and just a bunch of vice presidents of different sections within the club, if that makes sense. And she would kind of be the sole leader have it as our advisor. So that’s how it started out, I’d say for the first month or so. And she quickly realized that it could not function without a president because her being our advisor was definitely helpful, but it’s something that she wanted someone else to have more control over. So she didn’t want to be making all the smaller decisions that you didn’t need a faculty advisor for. So it kind of became all of the executive board voted on who we thought should be the president. And so before I was in charge of the school store, which is why I ended up writing the report. With my co president, we were both in charge of the school store. So we were kind of just open up the store that was connected to the DECA classroom. And we sold food for snacks like during our like for students to have during classes or during our snack break. And we also sold T shirts for high school kind of random stuff like blankets, little our mascot was a husky. So we sold like little Husky stuffed animals and stickers. So that’s how it started off. And then after the vote, we both got elected to be co presidents together. And I definitely think it was because we were very organized. And it’s something that like I’ve gotten more into now is, I don’t know if there’s like this new trend right now where you can make a template for your laptop, a home screen that has like little boxes to put like certain things in and like grids to write your schedule. So I’m really into organizing things. And I think I’ve always been into that. So for voting on it, we both organized how we were going to vote on that for the process of choosing the positions afterwards, we organized it. So I think people pretty early on solid, you should probably give it to these two girls who are working really hard and making sure this process goes smoothly.

Kamila
Yeah, that’s great. And let’s move on to the second club Key Club. And then you said you did have some retail jobs during high school. So we’ll talk about that to the first key club. Again, same thing with deca, how did you get involved in it? And, you know, like, what, like, I guess yeah, what did you do? And then did you hold any significant positions?

Vivian
Yeah, so I think Key Club in deca, at least in my high school. And I’ll go ahead and generally generalize it a little bit more for Loudoun County as a whole. We’re pretty well known clubs to get into and it’s really easy to be a general member and just slap that on your application for colleges. So it was something I just joined because I knew how popular it was, and that they don’t really do not need anyone who applies for it, or decline your application. So I got involved. And I think it was my sophomore year that I realized I really wanted to get more involved in like try and be in charge of one of the projects or events that we had. And so I started off by being on in charge of like for helping out with the Bay Club sales. So each year we chose a local nonprofit or something like some charity in the area that we wanted to give all proceeds for. So it was kind of, you’d be in charge of signing up members that would bake stuff and donate it to the baking cart. And then we would go around during there is this period called Flex. I think it’s just called homeroom now. And we would just go around to all the classrooms and try and sell stuff. So cookies, or some people made cakepops, which were pretty cool. Um, and so that was definitely I guess you could say my first like, smaller leadership role. And then again, with I just really liked taking meeting notes, organizing things I thought going into like the Secretary, Secretary Magnus position would be really interesting. So my senior year, I went ahead and applied to that and that was just application based and then they changed it to needed to be voted by all the club. And so there wasn’t any like campaigning or anything involved. You just kind of went up and said, Hey, my name is Vivian I’m just want to do Secretary like this is why and then people would vote on you on just loosely paper, there wasn’t any official ballot or anything. It was very low key. And so that kind of happened. And I definitely pushed that to the backburner once I became co president of DECA because there was more responsibility and more things to do with DACA it was also a bigger club that my high school so there were more students that I needed to look over. But it just worked out really well for key club that I was able to kind of balance it and put a little bit more focus on DECA because I got really cool Close with both of the club advisors that I was able to tell them, I’m really interested in helping out with both clubs and being involved in both. But sometimes I’ll have to prioritize one or the other. And I just like need understanding that you guys are okay with me trying to balance it all. So that it was really nice on their part to help out with that.

Kamila
And I have a question about doing sports and doing clubs at the same time. So I don’t know how all high schools do it. But the way my high school is, clubs are like right after school unless you I don’t know, arrange something outside of school is usually right after school. And same thing with sports. For example, my friend, she does sports basically, the entire year, she does track and field and cross country. And she’s like, out for like, two hours after school. She’s like, complete, she’s just running, you know, just running and running and running. And so how were you able to do clubs and sports at the same time?

Vivian
Yeah, so again, I think that definitely was supported by your coaches. Thankfully, both of my coaches, my soccer coaches, and my field hockey coaches, really wanted us to know that if there is something to do with school, or that be a club, like that’s our number one priority, and sports should come second to that, which is something I think all coaches should really support and promote more. So I had morning practice, usually from 6:30am, to 8:30am, somewhere around there, our school started at 9am, I’d like to say, and so DECA and Key Club, both had morning meetings, so before school started, and those were normally at, like 815. So those days that I did have meetings, I’d have to let the coaches know that I have to leave early. So I probably get out around 757 55 around, then I have to run from the field shower in the locker rooms change really fast, and then run to these meetings. But it was also helpful because the advisors knew a lot of the members in the clubs, were doing sports at the time and weren’t always able to show up right on time, maybe five minutes late. So I think communication was key in both letting your coaches and the advisors or the executive members of all those clubs, letting them know that I’m really interested in doing all these things. I’m just going to need some flexibility to make sure I can show up to all of my commitments.

Kamila
Why does your school do everything in the morning?

Vivian
I really could not tell you it was very rare to have an after school meeting that was kind of not frowned upon. It was just weird for a club to do that it was way more normal to have morning meetings.

Kamila
I mean, this odd because I mean, it makes sense for my high school to afterwards, but our high school starts at like 720 in the morning. Like yeah, I guess that makes sense. Okay, we’ve gotten older retail retail, you said you did work a few retail jobs. So how did you come upon those? And like, why did you choose to do a job?

Vivian
Yeah. Um, so again, I’d like to say a lot of the things I did throughout high school were heavily supported and recommended by my dad, I remember. So I’m a little bit older, I’d say you could say are an older part of each grade. So I was born in October of 1999. So I was some of the oldest, one of the older students in my grade. So I turned 16. Pretty early on, in I think it was the summer after my freshman year. My dad was just like, Do you have a resume? And he was like, No, I don’t even like what would I put on it? I’m not really like involved in that much as a freshman. And so he helped me out one day. And then that was really it. And then two weeks later, he said put on like something like presentable professional. And I didn’t have anything other than just jeans because why would I have like working clothes or business casual clothes. So I just remember putting on jeans I remember this so well putting on jeans, a sweater and booties? And I was like, Alright, where are we going? He had printed out 20 copies of my resume, and put them all in like separate manila folders with my name on them in like my email. And so I was like, I don’t know, like what’s going on. He’s like, let’s just go in the car. So we drive to the local outlet mall. And he’s like, so this is what you’re going to do today. And I’m not going to go in with you. I’m just gonna be waiting outside of the stores, you’re going to go into as many stores as possible and ask if they’re hiring, or to speak to the manager and give yourself like an elevator pitch of yourself in turn in your resume. And I said what I was not prepared for this at all. So I was so nervous. I started crying. I’m very emotional. So I was like, You’re not forcing me to do this. Like where’s mom, like, she’ll talk you out of this? And he’s like, nope, like your mom’s at the gym? We decided this is what you’re doing for the summer. Like you’re not just gonna sit by anything. So it’s like, okay, I guess I have to do is so I remember the first store I went into was Under Armour. I was like, Hi. Like, I’m looking for a job for this summer. No, like, how old are you? Like I just turned 16 And they’re like, No, we don’t we only hire like 18 years old, 18 years, and I was like, oh, and so I went out and I told my dad that he’s like, don’t make an exception for you, like, just go back in and give your resume. Like, no, I think that’s like a nationwide company policy, like they will not hire me. So we spent the whole day was Saturday doing that. And I ended up getting a couple jobs offered on the spot, which was super weird, because I did not expect that to happen. But my first job was at converts. And I thought it was like really funny, just because the stereotype you put with Converse are kind of people who skate a lot or are more like alternative. And that was just not my vibe, or look, or interest in high school, I was very much the at least I tried to wear the Vineyard Vines, preppy or vibe. But that definitely changed once I got to college. So I thought it was interesting that they interviewed when they one of the questions was, why do you think you’re a good fit? And I was like, Well, I can’t say I’m into skateboarding because that is just very obvious. I am not based on that at the moment. But I just said that I really liked their shoes. And this was during the era that the white high top Converse wear, style. And sounds like I really like those shoes. I think I could definitely relate to the people and the shoppers who are not all the way skaters but are still interested, for example, in the white high top shoes, like, at least I know personally, if I were to walk in and see only people who are really into skateboarding, I would be a little intimidated to ask them questions just because I feel like they would think I’m an imposter or something like that. So it’s like, I think I can definitely appeal to those customers who are just looking for the basic shoes and don’t want anything with zippers or very colorful options. So it ended up working out. And it was really fun working there. I met people that I never thought I would meet just because we had different interests, they went to different high schools. So that was cool. And I worked there that one summer. And then after that I worked at DSW for two summers. And that’s another shoe store. So it’s pretty obvious obvious that I have an obsession with shoes. And so it’s pretty cool because I got to memorize a lot of the shoes and their prices and where they were located all the stores. So if people were to ask stuff, I’d say, oh, yeah, that’s it’s aisle 12 behind this band’s shoe. But then after that, it was the summer between senior year in my first year at UVA. I really wanted to work at a summer camp. And it was because I had gone to the summer camp in Loudoun County since I was in kindergarten. And my sister was a counselor there. It’s the Loudoun County Parks and Rec, summer camp. So it’s pretty well known on and I just like had been trying to get in and they’re pretty, I’d say exclusive or they look for older students. So college age students and up, just because definitely people trust their kids with older people. That just makes sense. So it wasn’t until then that I was able to get that job. So I remember that I had this like very serious meeting at DSW just kind of go over, like, our goals for the summer. And then I had to go up and was like, This is my two weeks notice I had never done that in person because when I left converse, it was by accident. I had asked for a vacation that just happened to be the week before school started. And they had thought that was me quitting. So I just stopped getting scheduled there. And I called them and it was like, Hi, I just haven’t like heard from you guys in a while. You’re like, oh, we thought you quit? It sounds like oh, well, I guess it’s I’m done working here now. Um, so this was definitely intimidating to ask for two weeks notice. And they were like, Why do you have to leave and I was like, honestly, I’ve just been wanting to work with kids for so long that I think this is my chance to do it. So I did that my last summer. And that was definitely the most rewarding and fun experience just because you go from working at a shoe store where mainly the people you’re seeing are middle aged men and women coming in to buy shoes for their family or for themselves to spending eight hours a day with 10 year olds making slime or going to the pool. So it’s definitely more fun.

Kamila
Okay, so, I mean, that’s great. And it’s great that your dad was really involved in this guy. I know. If it weren’t for my parents, I wouldn’t be doing some of the things I’m doing now. So yeah. Okay, and so we’ve done we’re done with that last part is like recommendation letters and essay so we can get to those. And then you know, talk about how you chose the colleges you chose and then eventually, where you got accepted into. So letters of recommendation. Again, how did you approach it? Did you know the current you know, they give you advice on how to do this stuff like read letters of recommendation, get them from teachers who have a personal connection to So did you know that when you were like approaching that process that part in the college application process.

Vivian
Yeah, it was definitely something well known to kind of try and find that teacher that you can personally connect with. Um, and I originally thought to go straight for my DECA faculty advisor just because I had taken marketing classes since my freshman year. So she knew me pretty well and had seen me like, grown and become definitely an older, more professional version of myself, I guess you could say, um, but she was a very popular person to ask. So I knew that asking her might not end up working out or maybe she would end up forgetting about it, because so many other students had asked. So I was definitely on the look for another teacher that I had built a personal connection with. But I’d say it’s kind of hard to make that personal connection with the teacher. Especially because there were so many other students looking to build that. And I’m definitely not a person that will fight to get their attention or something, I was definitely the quieter student in class. So it was definitely important for me to make those connections before the class had started, or after or during our free period. And I remember, it was my economics teacher, who I had really gotten close with. And he was also my history teacher. So I had him for two years in a row. So I think that’s what made me feel more comfortable asking him and we just quickly hit it off. I think hit it off is like a weird phrase to use. But he quickly was able to guide me in a lot of the process I was confused with, and has helped me out a lot in the classes themselves. When I had questions, I was never really nervous to ask him for any help on stuff just because I know like, I was more nervous to ask male teachers for help, just because this is kind of going into we’re actually talking about this one of my classes right now. Um, but it’s just like kind of a more stereotype of women being able to help more or have that more endearing stereotype with them. So it was definitely a little bit more nerve wracking for me to go up to male teachers and ask them for help. But he was always just so helpful. And he really liked econ, which was really helpful and made it really easy to understand, because as I said, like I knew I wanted to go into something business related. So I was definitely able to make that connection easier. But I think it’s something that was overlooked was people said, often not faster coaches, because sometimes they only see you in that player version of yourself and not in like the more academic serious part. But I think it’s helpful to have that balance. So I got one recommendation from him. And I got another one from my field hockey coach, just because my travel soccer coach at the time was way too intimidating for me to ask. So I was like, I’m going to ask my nicer field hockey coach who have definitely been able to open up more and be more myself around for it. So it was nice having both of those. But yeah, the importance of getting recommendation letters and having strong connections and teachers was put on us pretty early on.

Kamila
Okay, so let’s move on to like the actual physical application. So did you apply common app to most schools? Yes. Okay. And your personal statement, which is the one that’s the longest one around 600 650 words, what topic? Did you write that one about?

Vivian
Yeah. So for that one, I was very nervous for writing for and it took a while for me to come up with a topic. Just because people say it’s really important to have something that will stick out and not just be this is my accomplishments, or I’m really involved in soccer, or something around those, there was never really a big moment. For me, I guess you could say growing up that kind of made like, oh, that’s like the perfect story to write about, for this essay. I never really had anything like that. So it’s definitely a little bit harder. But I ended up coming up with and I’m actually pretty proud of it. And I still tell people about it, because I think it’s a pretty fun concept. But my high school was really big into football, like I had said earlier and I was really, really into football. Even though I don’t understand it at all, I just thought it was really fun to go to the games involves with all of your friends decked out in our colors were black and blue. So wearing black and blue, like face paint, like the little dots around your eyes, like a lot of girls did. So I was really into that. So I wrote about how moving up in the stadium bleachers can kind of represent your growth, or at least my growth throughout high school. So at least in my area, it was pretty well known that when you’re in eighth grade, if you wanted to go to high school games, you would walk the track. And that was kind of it. People thought that was really fun, but you never really saw the game much or people didn’t really affiliate you with the school or being a high school student. Then when you became a freshman, you were at the very top of the bleachers farthest away not really as hype you could say I guess definitely like at the bottom of the bleachers for all the seniors. And so as you slowly move up, the older you get in high school, I kind of saw that as the field and all the players What you want to do in life and what your dream or goal is, and as a freshman year so far away from that, because you don’t really know anything. So that’s when you’re starting to get involved. As I said, I became like a general member in some clubs. But then finally, senior year, you’re against the bleachers, you’re in prime sight of the field, and you’re definitely able to see a clearer vision of what you want your life to look like. So that was kind of what I wrote about how my passions and my overall goals were definitely easier for me to see the older I got. And senior year was kind of the moment I realized what was more important to me.

Kamila
So creative. And you said, your AP Lit teacher definitely helped you with not just your personal statement, but all the supplementals as well. So did he help you kind of like generate that idea? And how did he help you when writing your essays? Did he, like, you know, do drafts and drafts and drafts of them?

Vivian
Yeah, so he didn’t help me. The idea was kind of just came out of nowhere. And I remember telling my parents when I had dinner, and they don’t really understand American football that much. They were like, I don’t think this is really the topic like are what you want to write, like, maybe there’s a better idea. And I was like, No, I think this is really good. Like, I think I just need to share it with someone who’s maybe seen this experience in person and knows what I’m talking about more, which is what encouraged me to reach out to my, to my teacher. So I shared the idea with him, it was a very rough outline of it, I had not written a draft yet. And he kind of helped me out with what’s like important. So I kind of knew that I wanted the ending to the senior years when you kind of have like a clear vision, but it was more of a clear vision of like your future. But he was like, it’s also important to realize that senior year is kind of when you get a better view of like who you are as a person and then who your personality is like who Vivian is, which is definitely something that I didn’t even think about because when I talked to like now family members, they said like confidence, not just within me, but within so many students grows so much throughout high school, and definitely a lot more in college. But it’s something that when you’re in the moment, you don’t notice as much so including that was his idea. And I think it was super important to bring up and give him credit where it’s due. Because I think like I said, it’s definitely overlooked. So after that he just helped with editing and finding the right words. And kind of just some grammatical things. I didn’t know when to use a dash at some places to like continuous sentence, sort of insert something. So just those smaller things was definitely helpful in sticking to the word count, because I tend to overwrite a lot. So that was really helpful, too.

Kamila
Okay, and again, with the supplementals. How did you kind of approach those? Did you try a different angle maybe trying to be really funny, or I don’t I don’t I haven’t read any, like college app essays. But did you try to like be funny or be something else in the supplementals?

Vivian
Yeah. So for the supplementals, it was definitely dependent on just like the questions. So I know UVA has a couple, and I’m pretty sure it’s to 250 words or less. So it’s pretty short, roughly like a paragraph and a half or a larger paragraph. So you don’t have much room to say. And some of the infamous or not infamous, just famous questions that are asked are, there’s a bridge at UVA called beta bridge, and students or organizations tend to paint messages on there, just that they want the community to see whether that be an upcoming event, or just something someone feels very strongly about, for example, there could be one that says TEDx event this Friday. And it’s simple as that, or there could be during the summer, there were many Black Lives Matter messages painted on there for a really long time. So the question was, what would you paint if you could paint anything on there. And I had seen an actor with a tattoo that said, that was in love, and then align all else. So it was love above all else, kind of like a fraction if you’re looking at it. And I just thought that was super important. I think something I’ve definitely taken more into my personality is loving people as much as possible, even if you don’t know them that doesn’t have to necessarily be like romantic or like really deep love if you just met someone obviously love to me respect and tolerance and openness to all that people have to offer in that oftentimes, just being kind and showing that softer side can overcome a lot of challenges or help out with the problem. So I thought that was super important to include and that one I was really weird about what I had written and I didn’t want anyone editing those. So those two I didn’t have that one. And I think the other question was, What is your favorite word? Those two I did not have anyone. Edit so I was like I don’t think Peter very strong, which definitely should have had someone edited. Maybe that could have helped, but ended up working out pretty well. But I will say the extra essay for William and Mary was just write something that the application doesn’t include like about yourself something that we will not be able to see just reading this. And so for this one, I’m really into popular slang words, and not just using them around my friends, but using them around my family, even though they don’t understand what it means, I think it’s pretty funny to just start saying something. And then slowly, my parents start picking up this new vocab that they don’t really know what they what it means. And then they slowly end up knowing it and just saying it to people. And they’re like, why are you using that word? Or what does that word even mean? And my family is very, like close and silly. So I wrote about how using all these random words, for example, ratchet or my dad was in Monte Carlo does not, I don’t know where he came up with that. It’s just supposed to mean very cool. There’s not a drug translation for it. It’s just something my family says a lot, um, how it kind of brought us together and how like, even though there’s slang that’s like, only specific to each generation, it can like help tie people together. And definitely like those last couple of years in high school, I got a lot closer with my family. And we were a lot more community, communicative. And were able to just open up a lot more. So I think that essay was kind of fun, because I did not think I would write about funny words. And remember, the first word of that essay was just ratchet, period. And then I go on to explain what that obviously means later.

Kamila
Yeah, I hope so. Me, your essays are amazing. They have so many deep, like so much deep meaning to them. Okay, so, essays aside, now we’re on like, actual actual colleges. So again, you did say it was kind of obvious, like, of course, you’re going to look in Virginia, every student does that they live within their own state. So how did you select the schools within Virginia? And then how did you select out of state schools? And, you know, how did you approach it? Did you do the traditional safety couple safeties, couple targets, couple reaches? How did you like kind of? Yeah, guys,

Vivian
I definitely did those three main categories that you just said, for me, my reach school and dream school was Columbia. And I definitely learned about that through none other than Gossip Girl, just through shows or famous movies placed in New York City. And I always thought that was somewhere that I could really see myself in definitely individually grow as a person more just with the diverse group of people that live there, and obviously attend all of those schools. So that was always reach. And then the two more, I wouldn’t say like settling schools or just like normal, because I do think it was like a little bit harder to get into William and Mary, and UVA. But those were kind of schools that I think I had a good chance at getting into. And then the last two were James Madison, JMU, and Christopher Newport University. So the last four schools were all in Virginia, Columbia was the only one out of state. And that’s just I chose those just because those were pretty popular for my high school and most residents of Virginia went there. And I did not apply to Virginia Tech, not because of the UVA Virginia Tech rivalry. Just because I had actually gone there for a week. I think it was my sophomore junior year for a college or for a soccer tournament. And so I was able to walk around their campus and kind of see Blacksburg. And I just quickly realized it’s not what I was looking for. And so my parents were just kind of like if you know, you’re not going to regret not applying to it, you just might as well not do it. So that’s why I didn’t end up going to that. But now I like to say it’s because of the rivalry that I knew for a second that I never would be happy.

Kamila
So long as neither school listens to this podcast, I think we’re good. And I have a question. So I I’ve, you know, I’ve done a couple multiple of these interviews and with students because UVA definitely is it’s still a top school, I would consider considering there are 1000s of schools, and it’s still pretty famous, it is a top school. And I don’t know why but like, I would I would consider a reach school would be like 20 30% acceptance rate for me at target would be exactly like 5050 Almost. But then I have a school in my state UMD College Park, and that has about a 45% acceptance rate. But so many students tell me that UMD is a safety school when the acceptance rate is less than 50%. And then same thing for you with UVA and William and Mary. They’re not like, you know, 10% acceptance rate like those top schools, but they’re not exactly. They’re definitely not safeties at all either. So why do Is it because of your stats that you thought you had a really good chance at UVA because I’m still worried about my acceptance to Maryland if it’s gonna happen at all. So is it because of like stats that you can freely say, Oh, I thought I had a good chance at William and Mary I had a good chance at UVA.

Vivian
I did, I think it is because of my stats, especially because I’d say my GPA was stronger than my LSAT scores and AP exam scores that I thought I had a better chance. Um, but I think it’s definitely To each their own in the sense that I come here. And I think UVA was definitely not a safety, I would not say I was comfortable with applying. And later on, I’ll talk about like the process of finding out if I got in or not to UVA. But I didn’t think it was a total reach. Whereas like some of my friends now are UVA was like a safety net, like, I have to go here because I didn’t get in anywhere else, which is just completely crazy to me, because I never saw it that easy. So it’s definitely just dependent, I think on your stats, as well as the environment, and stories and stereotypes around that school from your hometown, if that makes sense, or UVA, at least up in Northern Virginia was seen as a pretty good top school that you would go to if you’re trying to stay in state, and not go to an Ivy League out of state. Um, so I just knew it was for the smarter kids in the schools who were more interested in academics than, for example, sports or going out and hanging out with friends more. So it’s definitely something that I knew I needed to kind of prioritize school at moments instead of going to a movie or something. But it was definitely just I think, based on like, what the people in your immediate environment were talking about for that school?

Kamila
Because it just amazes me. They’re like, I’m going to apply to Harvard, Stanford, MIT as my reaches and the UMD is my safety. And I’m like, what’s in between that and you just Yeah. Like, oh, my god, okay. All right. So you’ve applied to these schools. Now, tell me which schools you get accepted into?

Vivian
Yeah. So I got accepted into the last four schools, UVA, Lauren, and Mary JMU. And CNU, I got rejected from Columbia. That happened, I’d say, I think that was the last decision I got. So after all of the acceptances, it definitely definitely didn’t hit as hard. And I really knew it was a reach like, if I got in, it would definitely have been like a miracle. So I wasn’t completely heartbroken by it. Um, but the first school I found out from was JMU. I remember we found out during school, in one, it was my AP gov class. And this one could checks his phone and he just screams like, I got it. This is my dream school. And everyone’s like, What are you talking about, he’s like, JMU is like application decisions just came out. So our teacher was like, Alright, I guess everyone like, you guys can check it if one of you already did. And so thankfully, everyone in that class had gotten in, because that definitely would have been a little sad if someone didn’t, and we were all just screaming and cheering. Um, but it was definitely exciting, because that’s the first decision you have of knowing you can get a higher education if you want to go to that school. Um, the second one was Christopher Newport, and I had applied to their presidential program and their leadership programs, which were two tracks in the school that kind of had some specific classes you had to take for them, or specific clubs or organizations you had to be a part of, it wasn’t necessarily that they would choose your major, it was just like an underlying track that you had to do within the school, I ended up getting into both of those programs with the leadership program was definitely more based on leadership classes, and just kind of how to become a better leader or manager in whatever field you go into. And the Presidential program was more based on service. So I think definitely my Key Club experience helps with that one. And both of those came with a scholarship. So that was really nice. When I got it, and my parents were automatically like, Oh, my God, that’s where you’re going. Because the scholarship that would help so much, I was like, you’re totally right. Um, and then UVA is decision came out, and I actually got deferred. So I remember this night, clear as day as if it was last night. My mom was back in Peru visiting her family. So it was only my dad and I. And my friend had texted UVA, his decisions are out. And so my sister had already found out too and so she called me and she’s like, um, the decisions are out, like, Yeah, I know, I haven’t checked yet decisions, like, do you want to do it? When we’re on the call? There’s like, no, no, like, I at that moment, I thought I was going to get in. But even though I was like, this is gonna jinx it, or something bad’s gonna happen. And so I told everyone, like, I just need to be alone in my room to check. So I remember checking in my dad’s downstairs, and I just see it and I froze, like, I didn’t process everything. And so I opened my door and he’s like, did you get in like, he’s on the phone with my sister and my mom, everyone’s freaking out. And I was like, I got deferred, slammed the door, proceeded to start crying for the whole night. My mom’s like, in Peru calling me she’s like, it’s okay. My dad’s over here, like freaking out. He’s very, very passionate about me and my sister like doing really well and like whatever we pursue, so he was like, It’s because your LSAT score wasn’t high enough. So he’s googling upcoming LSAT tests that I can take to tie up my score. He’s like, when’s your next test so you can do better on it and like submit that test. And I was like, that’s just not how it works. So that night was definitely hard, especially the next day going to school. And all my very close friends had got like a good amount of my close friends had gotten in. And so they were all excited. And I definitely didn’t want to be the rain on their prey. Like I didn’t want to say no, don’t like celebrate, but obviously it didn’t feel good, like them screaming and wearing UVA gear and everyone asking me, so I got hit really hard. And I think that was the moment that I realized UVA was probably my first choice. I was kind of denying it up until that point, just because, as I mentioned, I didn’t want to follow my sister’s footsteps. Um, so that was definitely hard. And then I remember, I think it was, we found out in January, so about like, two ish months later on, the decisions came out and my dad ended up learning like, you can’t take an sh again, deferral just means that that exact application will be relooked at once the regular applicate regular decision applications come in. So it took a lot of explaining to him because he was like, no, like, if you take the AC T and everything right now it will change. And it’s like, no, I can’t do anything to change this. It’s just whatever happens when they review it again. So I was on my way with my mom to a training because I my soft earth sorry, my spring semester of senior year, I coached a kindergarten girls soccer team. So I was on my way to a training for that. And I had seen nowhere that the decisions were out, but I had just been checking every now and then because I was super nervous about it. And it was a Wednesday and so I was like I think I’m just gonna check it right now. And it was 5:25pm I remember this. So Alex, I looked at the clock, and it said, like you’ve been accepted, and I just started screaming in my mom’s driving and she’s like, politics, everything, okay? It was like I just got in. And we both started crying. My dad was on his way back from work. I called him and he started crying like I call my sister. Everyone just started crying. And so that’s when I was like, I think UVA is definitely we’re gonna end up.

Vivian
And so then later that week, we found out from William and Mary. And so I also got in there. And then things totally changed. My parents were like, Oh, William and Mary is where you’re going. I was like, Well, you guys not just crying with me. For TVA, they’re like, no, like, really even Mary’s the place now. And I was like, This is so weird. They were definitely not being I don’t know if devil’s advocate is the right word. But I was like, we’ve decided on UVA, like, I don’t know what you guys are talking about now. And they’re like no, like, you had to go and toured everything one more time to like finally decide. And so I had toured all the schools the summer before senior year, and so I kind of had like a good grasp. I didn’t know anyone at William and Mary however, and so I think I would have like to have stayed with maybe a friend to kind of see more of like, what the student like is there like overnight or on a weekend instead of going like during the week with your parents for example. Um, but I loved the campus and everything just seemed I like to describe it and people who go to going to marry probably will disagree with this, but like, I think it was a smaller version of UVA and like many regards, so I definitely saw things that were appealing to me. Um, but I did have a friend who went to UVA. So that spring break of my senior year I came and stayed with her for a weekend and I remember driving like back home and we were leaving grounds and I passed the rotunda and I just started crying. I was like, no like, this is no decision like this is where I’m going like nothing can change that. And I remember calling my parents and they were like That’s so unfair. You didn’t visit William and Mary again and I was like I don’t need to like we’re putting the deposit and like this is the place

Kamila
and we correct me if I’m wrong is William and Mary a private or public school?

Vivian
University definitely know that I think it’s a private university. I’m probably wrong but I think it is.

Kamila
Okay. But even like you at UVA being the school that you like better, it was still the cheaper option because you would be paying in state tuition instead of private school tuition. I don’t even want to think about it right now. But it’s so yeah,

Vivian
I can’t remember now if it’s private or public, but it was definitely I know UVA was cheaper than William and Mary.

Kamila
We have now reached the end of Vivian part one make sure to subscribe so you know in part two comes out. Also check out my blog, a college kid.com For more college related content. And lastly, I hope to see you in Vivian Part Two