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Name: Maya Foster

Year: Class of 2020

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Intended Path of Study: Cognitive Science or Neuroscience

Three Signs, Two Options, One Intuitive Mind

It was actually a series of three coincidental events, more like signs, that lead me to apply to Johns Hopkins University. I had no intentions of applying to the school prior. It was either the University of Michigan ­Ann Arbor, another local school in Michigan, or some other out-­of-­state colleges. Truthfully, I had never even heard of the school.

So here’s the story:

It seemed like it was another average day at my high school: I had gone to my classes and chatted with friends in the hallway. However, one particular conversation in what my school called “the yellow” hallway, started a sequence of serendipitous events that would guide me to my school of choice. But of course, I didn’t know that at the time.

This first encounter occurred in the conversation when my friend mentioned Johns Hopkins University regarding an upperclassman from my school who had gotten in. What’s Johns Hopkins? And why is it so special? I thought to myself , while blindly giving my congratulations to the person who had apparently gotten into this great school. The curious person I am, I looked up the school on Google and saw that it was a university renowned for its contributions in medicine. I had reasoned that I probably wasn’t applying to the school. I mean, I wasn’t even considering being a doctor. And so I went on with life.

The second encounter occurred when I had just returned from a camp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was reading through the group chat the participants in the camp had created. They remarked that they had been receiving letters from top colleges in the mail inviting them to consider applying for the respective school. The name “Johns Hopkins University” circulated throughout the conversational stream and particularly caught my attention with how the participants described the mail from it. There was a puzzle in it! How unique! Must be a cool university, I had reflected completely forgetting about hearing about the school earlier in the year. I eventually got that same letter and marveled at the creativity of it. I couldn’t help but wonder if this could be a school I could see myself going to.

The third encounter occurred when I received an email of invitation to apply to the Hopkins Overnight Multicultural Experience (HOME). I originally had glazed over it, seeing it as another one of the many arbitrary emails I had received as a result of signing up to receive emails from colleges in the ACT (regrettably). But chance lead me open to the email and discover it wasn’t the typical “Apply here!” email. They had actually invited me to a program! I scanned through the email until I saw the dates. They were during the first month of school. I usually hated missing school but for an unapparent reason (most likely an early stage of senioritis) at the time, I decided to disregard my conventions and apply. Why not?

I spent several days going off and on composing the essay for the program. I navigated the Johns Hopkins University site to learn more about the school also. On the day that it was due, I spent time with old friends, almost forgetting about the application. Stressed I rushed to the nearest coffee house (Starbucks!) with my computer. The odds were in my favor as I put the finishing touches on the application and pressed submit at 4:59 P.M, just seconds before the deadline. A confirmation page popped up, informing me that my application was sent. I better get in for all the stress that resulted from this… A few days later I found out I was accepted via email. I remember jumping up with joy about it. It was my first experience getting accepted into a program associated with admissions to a college! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I thought while marveling at the computer screen.

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I knew when my math teacher sent me an email replying “Isn’t it Johns Hopkins?” in response to my email regarding my impending absence from school that there was something special about the school. As I embarked away from my home in Michigan to Baltimore all alone, a plethora of questions rushed through my head. Were the people going to be nice? Would I make any new friends? What does the campus look like? Before I knew it, I was off the plane awaiting the representatives from the school that happily greeted me. There, I waited with other students conversing with them about their interests while eating granola bars that were offered to us from the representatives. Man, I was really liking this place.

Mesmerizing. That’s what I would call my experience throughout the entire immersion experience. The student body was such a group nice and fun people ­­ my sophomore college student guides were particularly inviting and inclusive. The educational opportunities I learned about were full of things I wanted to have in a school and didn’t even know I wanted in a school. The vibe of Johns Hopkins University was attractive, period. From witnessing a talk from President Bush’s daughter to the multicultural show to traveling at night in the city, I could totally imagine myself attending the school. I even got to go an expensive seafood restaurant for free! Though on a side note, I was catching a cold and couldn’t actually taste the food. I knew I had to come back and actually taste it! When the program ended, I really didn’t want go back home. That being said, when I returned to school, my body was in Michigan but my mind was still entranced with the academic brick wonderland. I was definitely going to apply! Right when I got home, I started working on the application process.

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On the day that the early decision application was due, I spent the night frantic with my mother revising my essays and Common Application. I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted to get in. But the stress was overwhelming me. I recount staring at the submit button for the early decision application deadline contemplating whether I should wait to apply regular decision. I started to think about the other people from my school applying who were equally qualified, maybe even more who were applying regular decision. Could I compete with them? I mean my scores weren’t top notch. My grades could be better… And so on the whim I clicked submit thinking it was my best bet of getting in. In my heart, I knew Johns Hopkins University was the school for me. I could feel it. I just hoped the feeling was mutual.

December 15th came fast. My heart was pounding on the bus ride to my afternoon study area, Starbucks. It was a bright, sunny day. I just hoped my mood would eventually match its ambience. My sister was next to me cheering me on. I took no time in logging into my account on my cell phone. My heart was beating uncontrollably out of my chest and my eyes were fixated on the screen to see which life determining words would appear. I waited to see words like “sorry” or “unfortunately.” Only, I didn’t. I couldn’t believe my eyes were reading the words “congratulations” and “2020.” I got in. “I got in!” My sister screamed and all of Starbucks looked our way briefly. A woman next to me asked what school I had gotten into. “Johns Hopkins,” I had said. “Wow, that’s crazy.” She replied. Yup, it was. I had only applied to two schools early, Johns Hopkins being the first. So when I heard from the other about my admittance I didn’t really give much thought to it. All that was on my mind was that I was a member of the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2020. Next fall couldn’t come any faster.

Presently, the reality of attending Johns Hopkins University becomes more real each day. And with that growing realization, the pride for being a fellow Blue Jay has grown. Despite my dad wishing I had accepted my acceptance letter from the University of Michigan­ Ann Arbor, I continue to tell my parents about anything related to Johns Hopkins. Almost everyday I am either reminded of or educated about a fact that makes me so glad I decided to apply to the school. So far, I finished applying for my classes, a stressful but thrilling gamble for my courses of choice. I recently got accepted to the JUMP­START program, an opportunity for me to determine whether the medical field is for me ­­ a way for me to answer the plaguing questions of “Are you going to be the next famous medical doctor?” The explorative side of me has never been so ready to immerse myself in the diverse activities and clubs on campus! I know that Johns Hopkins is going to be a place that I can call home in a matter of weeks. Go Blue… Jays! (Sorry, Dad!).