If the question, "What do you want to major in/what do you want to do?" behaved like water vapor above my head, I would be experiencing serious precipitation for a several weeks. Listen reader, if you knew what you wanted to do at 17, write a book, because that's a real poser for the rest of us. Now I may not know exactly yet, but at a dinner tonight with Alex Richardson, the Northern California Admissions Rep. for Yale, I surprised myself by coming up with at least passable answer.
First let me say that, so far, I love Yale people. I don't know what their reputation is, but to be as smart as they are, and as open and friendly is astounding to me. I honestly feel that Alex's attitude and demeanor as a conversationalist allowed me to talk about that which I am most passionate about, giving me true insight into how to answer that age old question. As I spoke about my time at El Cerrito and the transformation that occurred in me there, culminating in my time at Mosaic, a non-profit youth education project in Oakland, I was able to come up with an answer. While I have so many interests that I love to explore at my leisure, what I love most is looking at traditional fields from a human perspective. Studying political theory, economic policy, etc. through the eyes of an anthropologist, socialogist, cognitive scientist, or psychologist. This is something that has fascinated me before I even heard the term "cognitive science." In fact as I mentioned the field, a current Yale student also attending the dinner, Maria, lit up in response. It turns out she was very interested in the subject as well, sparking a wonderful and passionate discussion of what we loved about it.
I've talked to many people about their reasons for choosing a college, what I have heard time and again, is that someone connected to the college somehow made them want to go. The way that Alex quickly got me to talk about what was most important to me, and to then engage me in a meaningful way about that topic was remarkable to say the least. If I had to choose a college based on the character of the people then Yale makes a compelling case.