Seattle Academy Teachers Reflect on Their College Experiences

For seniors in high school, it seems as if all people ever talk about is college. Fellow seniors understand the weight that simple questions such as “Where are you going?” and “What are you going to study?” hold. And while the last two years of our lives have been filled with confused screaming, looking forward to college is very different from looking back at college. The following is a collection of short interviews of teachers at Seattle Academy. All were asked the same three questions: “Where did you go to college?” “Why did you choose that school?” and “In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?" While each teacher had different backgrounds and responses to these questions, there was one constant; everyone said they enjoyed their college experience. Perhaps the looming fear which annually infects the senior class is unwarranted.

 Alyssa Fogel: Carnegie Melon University

Alyssa Fogel: Carnegie Melon University

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I chose Carnegie Mellon because it catered to my interest in the arts in an academic environment.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

I definitely enjoyed my time in college.

 Long Dam: Western Washington University

Long Dam: Western Washington University

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I chose Western Washington University because it was close to home, but just far enough. If I wanted to go to Canada I could go; it was only an hour away. B.C. had good Asian food and a fun nightlife, which was cool for a college kid.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice? 

Yeah, I really enjoyed it. I was up there last weekend. I liked it. Very pretty.

 Rachel Leavitt-Baron: Goucher College

Rachel Leavitt-Baron: Goucher College

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

Goucher was a small school, which is what I wanted. It also had good opportunities for me to play sports.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

Yes! I enjoyed my time at Goucher.

 Thomas Adams: Carleton College

Thomas Adams: Carleton College

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I went to Carleton College. I was impressed by how intellectually curious the students were. The students were wonderfully engaged and intelligent. The students were far more humble there than the students at similar schools. They were genuinely interested.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

Yes. I loved Carlton. I met remarkable people and had amazing professors.

 Gerald Elliot: Pitzer College (B.A) and the University of Washington (M.A.)

Gerald Elliot: Pitzer College (B.A) and the University of Washington (M.A.)

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I chose Pitzer for social justice. I wanted to be a difference maker. Pitzer was founded with a mission to make a better world, so it was the right choice for me. I went to UW for financial reasons. And I also missed my hometown, Seattle.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

I liked UW more. Although Pitzer was great for humanities, it lacked in science and technologies. UW is federally funded which meant they had better facilities and more opportunities.

 Lysie Taylor: Le Moyne College

Lysie Taylor: Le Moyne College

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

They gave me a good scholarship and I really liked the visit day. The day before visit day, I visited Rochester Institute of Technology, everyone seemed really depressed and overworked. People at Le Moyne looked happier, and plus it was a diverse crowd.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

Well… yes. Only because they had a good study abroad program, which brought me to South Africa and started a chain reaction, which led to where I am now.

 Emily Lin: Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan

Emily Lin: Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I didn't choose. I ended up there. In Taiwan, at the end of senior year, you take entrance exams that determine your university placement. There is a preference card to fill out after the exam, which indicates what programs you wish to pursue. I wanted to learn language so I selected all the language programs and ended up at Tamkang U.

In hindsight, were you happy with your experience?

Yeah, I enjoyed my college experience. Although I burnt out early in high school, which led to me not performing as well as I had wanted on my entrance exams, I ended up happy, which was surprising. At the time, I felt embarrassed that I didn't end up at a top school, but soon I enjoyed it. Looking back, I can see that everything happens for a reason, I feel this is very true. I wouldn't have met the wonderful professors and friends, and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

 Tom Hajduk: University of Puget Sound in Tacoma

Tom Hajduk: University of Puget Sound in Tacoma

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

University of Puget Sound is a small school. Small enough that I felt like I could matter. I wanted to be in the northwest. Having been born and raised Los Angeles, I like the PNW because in 30 minutes I can be in any climate. I also worked at REI at the time, which meant I was really into the outdoors.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?Absolutely, I still go down there, see my professors, and thank them.

 Stephanie Bloom: The University of 

Stephanie Bloom: The University of 

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I was a legacy. Both of my parents went there. I only applied to the UW and Western Washington University. My grandmother lives in seattle, so having her around was very nice.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice? 

Yes. I was happy. Honestly, I think I would be happy anywhere. That's the person I am. I like the campus and I made a lot of friends. It’s also very bikeable.

 James Watson: Vanderbilt University

James Watson: Vanderbilt University

Where did you go to college? Why did you choose that school?

I chose to go to Vanderbilt because it was a good school, had good programs, it was close to home, and I knew I would get a good education. While it was close to home, it was far enough away that my parents couldn't drop in on me.

In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?

I was happy going there. In hindsight, I may have gone somewhere else, but at that time it was the best choice for me.