By Sara Ghebremariam Dear Cedar Park Neighbor Community,
I am one of the many neighborhood students who has benefited from your continuous generosity and commitment to helping give the young adults in our community the chance to get ahead. Thus far my college experience has been everything I hoped for and more. Starting at theUniversityofPennsylvaniain the fall I had no clue what was in store for me, but I am so happy that I threw myself into it completely. After getting a taste of engineering and finding out it was not for me very quickly freshmen year, I found my place in the arts and sciences school, more specifically in psychology. I quickly made friends that I cannot be out of contact with for more than a day over the summer and found a home away from home. Even though classes at Penn challenge me they also excite me and for that reason summer has gone from something I wish for during the year to something I nearly dread in May.
While I have grown in the obvious academic ways, I have also taken the time to grow outside the library. Community service has always been a large part of my life and dominated my extracurricular activities. Since starting at Penn I made it a point to make sure that that did not change about me. I did this by joining the oldest and largest community service organization at Penn, the Kite and Key Society. I eventually gained a seat on the executive board of the Kite and Key Society in my sophomore year of college. This was a great opportunity to gain leaderships skills, not only with the running of the Overnight Hosting program but also within the society in contributing to that semesters fundraising project, a Mario Kart Tournament to raise money for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
Since the start of my junior year, I have been looking into planning the last year of my college career and afterwards. In the upcoming year, I will be taking part in two independent research projects in the field of abnormal psychology with the help of research advisors at the University of Pennsylvania all while taking part of the Psychology Department’s Honors Program. The broad topics I will be covering are substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. The prospect of doing my own independent empirical research is both scary and exciting but either way it is something that I will have to get used to if I’m to fulfill my ultimate goal of going to graduate school and getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Trust me when I say it is scary to think that this crazy ride is nearly over and I will be considered a full-fledged adult by the world in only a year’s time, but the support I have received from Cedar Park Neighbors and the community as a whole has helped relieve some of that anxiety. Though my impending graduation means this will be my last year as a Cedar Park Neighbor scholar I know that I will have their support, and yours, wherever life takes me.
All the best,