I decided to apply to Penn GSE shortly after a stint in a financial role in New York City the summer of my junior year. I had worked for years towards getting this position and I was quickly realizing that it was not the kind of work that would suit me for a career. I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the city and the need to be at work for upwards of twelve hours, but incredibly underwhelmed by the lack of substance in the actual work I was doing. I didn’t know what I wanted but I knew I didn’t want to do this.

I began examining my past, looking for clues on where my future would go. A major turning point for me was when I reached 8th grade and my mom fought for a spot for me at Central High School, where I eventually gained the preparation needed for success in my undergraduate education. Even at this college preparatory high school, there was clear disparity between the students that were growing and the students that were just passing through. This topic was important to me not only because of the long-term ramifications of an education disparity of this type, but also because I have seen my friends and family fall short of their potential. These ideas led me to thinking about going to a school of education, but I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher. When I happened upon the idea of Quantitative Methods, everything seemed to fit into place.

While I researched a number of universities and programs, I only applied to one. I would not recommend that in 99 percent of cases, but that was the choice I made. There are other universities with comparable programs, but attending the University of Pennsylvania is something of a homecoming for me. My existing ties to the city will allow me to begin my career smoothly and allow me to directly affect the schools I have links to. Because I will operate in the same area as my alma mater, my professional endeavors will quickly become a small reflection on the university. I chose Penn because while I don’t necessarily know exactly where I’m going, I know that this is the best starting point I could choose.