Want to go to a great high school, but you’re not sure that you want to be an engineer or a doctor? That’s okay. The Academy is still for you. I graduated from the Academy in 2012 and many of the young women in my class went on to great things in STEM fields. I however, was not one of them. While at the Academy I was woefully awful at Electrical engineering, but found a home in Civil/Mechanical engineering. Not because I was fantastic at calculations (I wasn’t) or I could tell you what the tensile strength of steel was (still can’t), but because I had a curious, analytical mind that liked to learn theory and liked discovering the history behind the world’s greatest feats of technology and architecture. While there is no doubt that the Academy is a fiercely competitive environment, there is an attitude that is best summed up as “we’re all in this together”, and with that you will always find help when you need it. You’ve got someone there if you can’t figure out your physics homework, or that British Literature and Composition poem just makes your head hurt. You learn that you can’t be good at everything, but everyone is good at something.
After the Academy, I attended Rutgers University. I graduated in 3 years with a double major, Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies, and a minor, Digital Communication, Information, and Media. While taking 21 credits each semester to graduate a year early, I also completed an honors thesis my final year. The thesis, which focuses on U.S. presidential influence in Congressional midterm elections, received high honors. As if that wasn’t enough, I held down 3 jobs while in school, was an active member of Rutgers College Republicans, and president and founder of Students for the Second Amendment. This laundry list of accomplishments is not to brag, but simply to show you that even if you are not one of the people that loves to fix things, code, or design bridges, the Academy will give you the skills necessary to succeed in college and in life. Time management skills are the most important thing that the Academy gave me.
Now living in Maine, I am a manager at a conservative political consulting company. I manage a team of 15 people, and I am the youngest member and only female. I wish for all the young students reading this to consider the Academy as a route to what makes you happy in life, whatever that may be. Buck the system in your own way, and never apologize for being yourself.