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Name: Divya Rangarajan

Year: Class of 2020

Hometown: Bridgewater, New Jersey

Intended Path of Study: Public Health

Father Knows Best

People say I look like my father. I know they’re right when I look into the mirror and run my finger down the bridge of my curved nose, or look into my chocolate colored eyes, and recognize his face in mine. My mother claims that my father and I are both stubborn, which we both adamantly deny, and we both have a frustrating habit of procrastinating till the last minute when panic sets in, and stress is inevitable. Still, perhaps the most telling of our similarities is something more general:

My dad thinks he’s always right, and if you asked him, I’m sure he’d say the same about me.

As any typical college freshman aged female would, I often dismiss his archaic advice and roll my eyes at his terrible dad jokes. Comments such as, “Dad, I don’t have to be a doctor or engineer to be successful, it’s the 21st century” often pervade our career related discussions over the dinner table. Or, after making a reference to a movie that’s only available on VHS, I have no choice but to say something like, “Dad I don’t know who Yul Brynner is, but just because you’re bald, it doesn’t mean you look like him!”

Apparently he was some a movie star way back when but believe me my dad isn’t this much of a stud no matter what he thinks. Sorry, Dad.

Apparently he was some a movie star way back when but believe me my dad isn’t this much of a stud no matter what he thinks. Sorry, Dad.

It wasn’t until my dad dragged me on yet another college tour, the summer before my senior year, that I realized that it was possibility that he could indeed be right. I first visited Johns Hopkins University during a time period when the words “Common App” made me queasy and I could recite the US News college rankings in my sleep. Since the end of my junior year it had been a world wind of essays, SAT prep and anxiety. I was in no mood for yet another series of lectures about how I should “just be myself” or “try my best” and I would end up where I was “supposed to be.”

But I decided to face the clichés and we took the three hour drive from New Jersey to Baltimore. After sitting in our car listening to my dad chatter away about how Hopkins would be the “perfect fit” for me, I was quite sure that the information session would convince me otherwise- if you haven’t heard, my father is never right.

As I stepped into Mason Hall, I peered out a large paned window, looking beyond the lush grass of the quad. It was a rainy day, but even the dark and hazy skies couldn’t detract from the undeniable beauty of the campus. My dad gave me a knowing smile as we walked into the auditorium for the information session, and I prepared myself for the same lecture we received at every school we had visited so far. To my surprise the admission officer said a few words before having a bright and bubbly looking student take over the presentation. Even more to my surprise, the student wasn’t a pre-med! In fact, she was a Public Health major, the same major I wished to pursue; this piqued my interest. She told us excitedly about her study abroad opportunity and the volunteering she did around Baltimore with children in need, adding that due to the lack of a core curriculum, she was able to fit in all of her major requirements, while still actively participating in all the other opportunities the school offered. After taking a tour, and speaking to more impressive Hopkins students on campus, I was convinced that I would definitely be applying in the fall.

As the summer months passed, I did more research, read student blogs, looked at the academic websites and researched the city of Baltimore. Hopkins had earned a special place in my heart; I knew there was no place I would rather go to school and decided to apply early decision. After the agonizing waiting period, I found out on December 11th of 2015 that I was accepted into my dream school. The first person I called was my father at work. Breathless and in tears, I remember screaming into the phone “I got in, I got in, Dad!” as my mom, sister and puppy all joined me in jumping around our family room giddy and in disbelief. I was so proud, so excited and so honored to be accepted into the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2020, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have even considered applying if it weren’t for my dad.

So Dad, I’ll humor you just this once, and say this time you were right, and I was wrong. Thanks for all of your corny jokes and terrible advice, thanks for telling me that I’m wrong every once in a while, thanks for being my dad.

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