Why has it taken me so long? I suppose it is because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life as I was finishing high school. I attended a local SUNY college as a Liberal Arts major for three semesters and took a variety of classes. My hope was that I would find at least one class that I liked a lot and maybe that would motivate me to continue my studies to get a real degree (because, let’s face it, Liberal Arts is not a real major). I took an introductory Physics class with Professor Jose Medina and did really well. He encouraged me to take Physics II the following semester, which I did. If I didn’t have a great teacher like him, I probably wouldn’t have pursued my current course of study.
But I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. So I took a year off and attended Elim Bible Institute, a small, non-accredited Bible college outside of Rochester. I take my faith pretty seriously and this opportunity allowed me to study and learn about it in a more academic atmosphere. While it was great for me to devote that year to God, I knew I still wanted to continue my “secular” studies. It was at Elim that I decided to study Physics. I only applied to one school, got accepted and I started attending SUNY Albany in the Fall of 2009.
I chose Albany for a number of reasons: affordable price, not too far away from home that I can’t visit but far enough away that my family won’t visit me too often, and it’s one of the four university centers of the SUNY system, so it’s gotta be a good school. Honestly, I did zero research into other schools and put all my eggs in this basket, but it seems to have paid off.
Since attending UAlbany, I have met a ton of people and made a bunch of really good friends; I have gained experience teaching math and science through EOP, CSTEP, and, of course, STEP; I have participated in two (soon to be three) summer research internships; I was the President of two student groups; and, in a couple of months, I’ll be receiving my Bachelor’s degrees (that’s right, plural) in Physics and Mathematics. Has it taken a long time? Yes. At times, did I want to quit? Yes. But another thing I gained from attending college (and UAlbany especially) is the ability to see the big picture in certain circumstances. And, while it is difficult now for Present Jared, the rewards for Future Jared will more than make up for it. I just hope that lazy Future Jared can appreciate all the hard work done by Past and Present Jared to get him to where he’ll be in the future.
Being here for almost four years has given me plenty of good and bad memories (mostly good though); it is almost impossible to pick a ‘most memorable moment.’ Ask Future Jared in 60 years and whatever memory about Albany that still remains in that sieve-like, senile mind of his will probably be his and my most memorable moment.