Whether you are a member of the class of 2021, a junior researching colleges, or just curious where you might end up after graduating from Northwest, here is a bit of inspiration. I got in contact with some recent alumni to find out what they have been up to.
Greta H. ‘20 (former editor and writer for the Publishing Haüs!)
Greta didn’t plan on taking a gap year. In fact, she was very against it when her family proposed the idea. However, when Princeton announced in August that it would be all remote for the foreseeable future Greta applied to defer entry. This school year the college used a lottery system because there was so much demand due to COVID. Greta had a 50% chance of getting a spot and it happened to work out.
Due to the quick turnaround, she started the year without a plan but ended up in New York City where she stayed with a friend who is going to school there. While on the east coast she also spent time with Jarod P ‘20 who is a freshman in college! Through the fall Greta worked as an intern at a New York City nonprofit for kids who age out of the foster system and then transitioned to an online internship at Leitzes & Co, an artsy advertising agency, when she moved back to Seattle for the winter. She also took an online french class. When I contacted her, Greta was at the beach on the big island of Hawaii where she is in her second week of WWOOFing (WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) with Sasha B ‘20. They have been eating meals with their host family in addition to farming, learning about small-scale agriculture and sustainable living, and exploring the island. Greta plans to stay in Hawaii until mid-June when she will return to Seattle. She will continue her internship from the winter and maybe get another part-time job while she prepares for college in the fall.
I asked Greta if she recommends taking a gap year even in a non-COVID year. She said, “absolutely!” and acknowledging that it sounds cliché, described how she has learned more about herself and become more independent. She now has a better idea of what she wants to study in college. Though she’s still not completely sure, she is interested in computer science and art history.
Currently, Greta is excited to go back to school in the fall, to be social and feel more comfortable interacting with people, to get fully vaccinated, and to start gardening with her mom when she returns to Seattle (using her WWOOFING skills, of course).
Macenna H. ‘19
Macenna has been busy studying and running year-round cross country and track at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Last week she declared her major: economics with a minor in history. She said that she found herself most motivated in classes that focused on these subjects. She is hoping to pursue summer research with the economics department – specifically archival research about the history of venture capitalism – and she is also interested in taking a consulting job. Dartmouth has been 99% online since the beginning of the pandemic and the college has not yet published plans for the fall. However, students are allowed to take classes from campus and unfortunately there was an outbreak in March – luckily Macenna did not get sick.
Macenna felt prepared for college. She says the Humanities program at Northwest was amazing for her and that freshman year at Dartmouth she felt better equipped than most of her classmates. She felt less prepared on the math side, in part because she did not take statistics or programming which she says is important in many of her classes, especially economics. In her opinion, Northwest students could benefit from having a stronger base in computer science.
In terms of college running, Macenna says she loves the structure that varsity sports lend to her day. All of her friends are runners too and she appreciated having automatic friends her first year. College sports are more intense, she says, but worth it. She has to send her workout splits to the entire team so there is more pressure in that regard but she says her coach is really supportive. She had a difficult freshman season while she was adjusting to college but now she feels strong. Next week she is running in her first race since before the pandemic!
I asked Macenna whether she keeps in touch with her Northwest friends and she says she contacts them almost every day. She also misses Northwest food, especially yakisoba. And last weekend it was 75 degrees in Hanover but then there was snow on Friday… crazy.
Thank you Greta and Macenna for the updates!