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Finding my way to Texas!

By: Leah Sycoff

Going into freshman year of high school, I was not really sure what type of student I would be. I do not mean a “good” or a “bad” student, because I knew I loved to learn. I am talking about which subject would be my favorite. Honestly, having (almost) finished my senior year of high school, I am still not exactly sure. I have always had many passions for a vast amount of topics, but with this being the case, how did I choose a major to study in college? It is a sum of incredible high school experiences that brought me to my major. 

In freshman year, I started with a normal schedule and a whole bunch of clubs in which I thought I could see growth. Sophomore year was when I tried harder to focus on my passions rather than doing things because they sounded elite. I enrolled in the AP Capstone program, taking AP Seminar. I also joined Newspaper club and cemented my part in Key club. I dove into my research in my seminar classes, studied science tangents, and enjoyed my time doing so and writing about it. Junior year, I continued in the capstone program, taking AP Research. I did an immense amount of research about cognitive bias, eating habits, and adolescent females. After realizing my interest in the brain, I thought I should further my scientific knowledge by enrolling in biology courses at a nearby college over the summer. I decided to take Anatomy and Physiology with the lab and Nutrition Science. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, so I assumed the nutrition class would hold first place in my heart. I was wrong. I enjoyed learning about the body even more. These classes, although requiring much hard work, taught me so much about not only science, but also how I learned best in general. I fell in love with the units involving brain function and the nervous system, but did not really think anything of it at the time. Time went on and I completed the classes, having done very well. 

Senior year was rolling around the corner, and it was time for me to apply to colleges and pick my intended major. I thought and thought and could not come up with a solid plan until I realized a major for my passions existed. We now arrive at my major… neuroscience! But now, where would I study this major? After applying to many colleges and receiving great acceptances, I found my perfect place: The University of Texas at Austin – somewhere where I can learn and discover and grow and then find new ways to learn. 

If you remember, there is a small part missing: what about my passion for writing and liberal arts? Well, a miracle occurred and this love will for sure be accounted for. With confidence, but also self-awareness, I did not expect to get anything out of applying to the Plan II Honors program other than to show UT that I was truly interested in the school. In receiving the email from my college that my portal was updated, I thought I would read Plan II Honors offer decline, but no, I was wrong. Not exactly sure as to what the Plan II Honors Program entailed, I just knew it was great, and therefore, I was ecstatic. I was noticed out of a lot of other kids, all intelligent and worthy; I was chosen. I ran to research the program and found that I would have the opportunity to not only study neuroscience, but also study an interdisciplinary arts and sciences major. I will be on track to receive a double degree! 

As Co-Editor-In-Chief, I know that the position I held in the newspaper club directly influenced my acceptance into UT, the neuroscience major, and the Plan II Honors program. I will always be grateful for the wonderful experiences I earned from this club! I hope that all of the current staff writers for The Thunderbird can realize all of the life-changing things this school newspaper can do for them.