As spring break approached, I was busy preparing and packing up for the first ever Lamton sponsored college visits which were out of state. We would be able to go to Illinois to visit the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, then we would go to Wisconsin to visit the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There were a total of nine students and three chaperones that went on the trip. On Friday, we hit the road at six in the morning inside a spacious van that was heading straight for Illinois for our first visit at Northwestern University.
We reached Northwestern University at around one in the afternoon, the weather was rather cold and windy yet the sun still gave me hope that I would survive walking around the campus. Unfortunately, we missed the campus tour but still had the option of attending a seminar for each branch of colleges they offered. Acha Nordon, Lhadon, and I went to the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science seminar where we were introduced to an in-depth overview of their school’s mission and various majors they had to offer, such as: biomedical engineering, civil engineering, and computer science. The seminar was led by the senior dean Stephen Carr who was very insightful and answered everyone’s question during the Q&A, he was very friendly and gave us a brief tour of the building which was specifically designed to make sure students didn’t feel like they were confined in the college. It had large window panels instead of walls to give the rather small building a spacious feeling. Overall, the university really piqued my interest and seemed very attentive to their student’s needs.
The next day we visited the University of Chicago. The weather was more tolerable and very sunny which was a bonus! We were led into an auditorium where someone spoke briefly about the university and their mission, he also answered various questions from the audience just like Mr. Carr from Northwestern. Then we were divided into multiple groups for the campus tour, our tour guide was a very enthusiastic Economics major named Sean who gave us a lot of trivia and kept our attention in all aspects of the university. Then we had the privilege of meeting Gen Karma la and Chime Lama, who bought us pizza and let us into his classroom. We sat around the table as Acha Chime told us her story of growing up and how she wanted to become a translator in the future. The most touching thing Acha Chime said was what her dad had told her when she was younger, that “education is the only thing they can’t take away from you”. Gen Karma la also gave us a speech on how fortunate we were to have the opportunity to think about our future and that the path to education is already set for you and the only thing that’s stopping you from reaching it is yourself. I learned that hard work and persistence will pay off in the long run and that you should never give up. Meeting with them was an eye-opening experience which I won’t forget and I even started tearing up a bit at the end because I was really moved by their speeches. Personally, out of the three colleges, the University of Chicago was my favorite one because the overall experience was impressive and it fit the vision of my dream college.
On our last day, we went to the state of Wisconsin and visited the University of Wisconsin- Madison. The weather was dreary with the rain and clouded sky but we endured it for the campus tour. Our tour guide was very friendly and full of jokes– which were at times, very cheesy– but managed to keep our spirits up during the cold tour. I learned that the university is one of the top voted public universities in America and that the campus life is considered very safe for its population size. After the tour, we met four Tibetan students, who currently attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Berkeley, that gave us great advice based on their personal lives and how they came to choose their respective universities. They explained how they overcame their hardships and how we could succeed in the future, decide our majors and choose the colleges we should apply to. This was a really memorable experience because these words were coming from Tibetan students who have already been through school and college and they really were very helpful. Sadly, that was our final destination before heading home but this was a really awesome experience that I will always remember.
Altogether, this opportunity to visit the colleges out of state with fellow students and friends really made this trip the most memorable experience for me. We had a great time discovering Chicago and its city while learning new things. Not only did we get to see some prestigious universities and experience stunning campus tours despite the cold weather, we also meet other Tibetans from different states that shared the same values and promise to preserve their Tibetan identity. This trip really opened my eyes to think about the future of Tibetans and how to make the best of my life in order to help other Tibetans who need help, not everyone is fortunate to have an experience like we did but we can make things like this happen for others later in life. This really was a great trip that I learned a lot from. Thanks a bunch Lamton!
Richfield High School