top of page

From Collingwood to Cornell


In spite of all the difficulties and stress, many of this year’s grads have made it to wonderful universities that will no doubt help them better prepare for the future and enrich their lives. Among these prestigious institutions is Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where the grads Erin Huang, Sol Lee, and Ann Zhao will be attending this fall, all pursuing different paths. The three students are highly accomplished members of the Collingwood community, and they are brimming with useful insights to share. During my interviews with them, I asked them several questions about themselves and the exciting yet terrifying journey they will find themselves on for this next transformative stage of their lives. Here are some of the highlights…

Q: What are you going to major in? Why does it appeal to you? Erin: I’ll be studying architecture at AAP (Architecture, Art, and Planning). I’m studying architecture because it’s a field that combines both the arts and sciences, and you can connect it to almost anything, from education to medicine. I can take what I’ve learned from anything and merge it with architecture.

Ann: Biomedical engineering with a minor in business—I love that it connects biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus, all subjects that I am so passionate about. It also connects my interest for medicine so I’ll be following a pre-med track as well. It doesn’t just study how the body works or how certain body systems interact with each other, but also applications of drugs, advancement in technology, etc. For example, for my ERE this year I’m researching how 3D printing can help patients with heart disease and diabetes, which will likely be the type of research I’ll be doing at Cornell.

Sol: I will be attending the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) under the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell. I will be on the Finance, Accounting and Real Estate (FARE) track there, and pursuing minors in Real Estate and Mathematics. I applied to more standard business and economics programs as well, but ultimately chose SHA at Cornell, because I wanted a business program with a twist of hospitality. During high school, I really enjoyed studying economics and had the opportunity to delve deeper into financial economics; So the FARE concentration at SHA was the perfect program for me to combine my interests in economics, finance, mathematics and service.

Q: Are there any notable interests/hobbies/activities you’d like to share? Erin: I like doing ceramics and pottery outside of school, and I also love travelling and visiting museums. I’m the co-captain of Collingwood’s badminton team as well and I plan on playing in university too. I also love watching TV and movies, because I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and during production.

Ann: I have such a big passion for music, which I will definitely be continuing as a hobby and hopefully I’ll be able to play some intramural volleyball. Other than those, I’m excited to explore Ithaca!

Sol: I had the amazing opportunity to work at a restaurant for the past two years, and found my love for service. It truly was an eyeopening experience that I will forever cherish. I love meeting new people through my work, and being a part of the tightknit community there has definitely changed my perspective and future plans.

Q: What are your thoughts and feelings about leaving high school and going to university? Erin: I’m pretty excited to move onto the next thing. I did a summer program at Cornell and made a lot of friends including current students there, from freshmen to seniors, and I know a lot of my classmates that are in my year for architecture as well. I’m definitely not worried about making friends, but I know for a lot of people that’s the scary thing about going to college.

Ann: Honestly I’m quite terrified. It’ll be tough leaving my parents and going off to fend for myself out in the real world, but I’m excited. I know that I’m going to meet so many new people and have such a good time for the next few years.

Sol: I definitely have mixed feelings—I’m excited, nervous and slightly sad. I’m thrilled to live on my own on the beautiful campus and excited to study what I love and work numerous jobs and internships. At the same time, I’m nervous about having to “survive” on my own and a bit sad to leave my family, but predominantly excited—especially going to college with a few of my amazing friends is rather relieving.

Q: Who helped you the most in this process? Who would you like to thank? Erin: I’d like to thank my mom! She’s done so much for me and taken me to all my lessons, studio sessions on the weekend, and encouraged me along the way. Also my friends for being nice when I have been too busy to hang out when I was getting ready for college applications and finishing my architecture portfolio. Lastly my studio instructor Johnny helped me so much with my portfolio, I couldn’t have done it without him.

Ann: A bit cliché, but definitely my parents. They have supported me for the past 17 years and loved me unconditionally. Ms. Embury gave me the support I needed when I was hesitant about applying to Cornell, and all my teachers supported me through everything and taught me everything that I am passionate about today. Specifically, I want to thank Mrs. Frykberg, Mrs. Carlbeck, and Mr. Ravensbergen, for writing my reference letters.

Sol: I am so grateful for all the work my parents have done for me. They have supported me in many ways and I definitely could not have done it without them. The University Guidance here definitely helped me the most through everything from course selection to college applications. I am very grateful for all the support and the time they took in helping me throughout. Also, my boss at work has supported me immensely and I thank him for the amazing work experience and advices. Q: Any advice for future applicants? Erin: Never equate your success to what schools you get in. Other than that, make sure your essays are good and get to know everyone in the university guidance! You’ll be seeing lots of them in grade 12 and I know I couldn’t have gotten it done without them.

Ann: If you have a dream, go for it. The US college admission is so unpredictable, and if you really want something, you have to give it your all. Be prepared for acceptances and rejections, but most of all, be satisfied that you gave it your best shot no matter what.

Sol: Do what you love and make that clear on your application!

By: Angela Wang

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page