"Congratulations! You have been admitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford!"
The last few weeks have been so...surreal. My peers have been saying, "I knew you would get in!" "You deserve it!" "Look! You were so worried!" But life has gone on as before. I'm grounded. I'm here in the moment. For some reason, the admission to my dream school is unreal.
The department invited me to Visit Day to "get to know me better." So I went. They set me up with a hotel room, reimbursing my gas, and a day full of interviews and lab tours.
But when did Stanford transform from "surreal" to "real"? When I started talking to the 60 students around me.
"Where are you from?"
"MIT" "Princeton" "UC Berkeley" "Cal Tech" "University of Illinois" "Georgia Tech" "Carnegie Melon" "Cornell"
Me: "UC Davis...."
What-the?! All of these people are from the Top Engineering Schools! Sure, I go to a good school...but not that good!
The presenters go on to say that basically 10% of applicants are admitted and 5% are invited. Most students that are invited are offered a full-fellowship for their Master's degree. Now this must be some kind of joke; maybe it was a mistake.
I cried on the drive home. Why me? I never would have imagined this. 7 years ago, I was talking with a NASA female engineer working on her graduate degree at Stanford. And I'm here. And I wanted to work for NASA. And I was there. And 4 years I was talking to my uncle about his engineering friend who got offered a full ride to MIT for his Masters. And I'm here.