Institution: Brown University
Study: double major in linguistics and international relations
High School Experience
I grew up in a predominantly white community. At times I loved it, I loved my friends and that “small town” feel. At times, I struggled with it because it was hard maintaining a connection to my Polynesian culture while interacting with the white culture I had been raised in. The community definitely impacted my high school experience. I loved my teachers at my high school, they were definitely why my academic experience was mostly positive. What I didn’t like was the close-mindedness and ignorance that came in discussions with my peers. Sometimes I felt like my beliefs or ideas were unwelcome. However, overall, my high school experience was positive.
I’ve always been a huge reader and writer, so naturally English was my favorite. That being said, I took the hardest English classes offered. The same was with math, I actually took 2 AP math courses my senior year. Additionally, foreign languages have always been a large interest of mine, which encouraged me to take 4 years of Spanish.
I took 7 AP courses over the course of my high school career. I took US history, Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, Calculus BC, Statistics, English Literature and Composition, and psychology. All the tests that I have scores back, I have passed.
Sports have always been a key part of my life. I’ve played basketball since I was in 2nd grade, and track and field since I was in 8th grade. My senior year I was the varsity girls basketball captain. I also was a part of a few service clubs at school and a community service organization. I created a writing club at my school and was the active president my junior and senior year.
One of the teachers that wrote my recommendations has been my neighbor my whole life, and so our relationship went beyond the school walls. Another one was a former coach of mine and had taught me most of my high school career. One of my other recommendations came from a teacher I had gotten to know very well and he taught a class that I had worked very hard in.
I had a few major themes: the importance of my family, my cultural roots, and my experiences and WHY they mattered.
A large mixture of things, but the most prominent was probably my experiences with my community, my school, and how I, as a woman of color, “fit in” to the world around me.
Seek out mentors. There are numerous organizations that provide mentors, you just have to look for them. My mentor walked me through the college application process, edited everything I wrote, and provided useful feedback.
No, it wasn’t my first choice, but for me it was probably the best choice. I chose Brown because of its open curriculum—I love the opportunity to explore and try new things.