I spent so much time working on my thesis that sixth block passed by without me even realizing it. That’s the thing about independent study. I don’t have class, so weekdays, weekends, and breaks all feel exactly the same. Every day, I wake up, go to the pool to swim, arrive at the Econ Lab by around 8:30, work on my thesis until 6 pm (sometimes later), eat dinner, and go home. I have cereal and milk and some dishes stored in the lab if I need a snack, but I spend most of my waking hours running regressions and writing my thesis.
Although I’ll be stoked when I finally finish my thesis, I’m lucky that I have such an interesting topic to study. I’m writing on high-skilled immigration and its impact on U.S. innovation (i.e., patent activity). This is an area that is just beginning to grace academic journals, so there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done. Colorado College has developed a really cool database using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to show where all of the issued patents are located for the last 30 years. Part of my research includes focusing in on certain metropolitan innovative hot-spots (e.g., the Bay Area, New York, and Seattle) to control for spillover effects (the idea that innovation breeds more innovation in surrounding areas). I’m still in the middle of perfecting my model, so it’s a little early to have conclusive results…but my advisor is confident that we’ll be able to publish my research in an Economics peer-reviewed journal.
In addition to working on my thesis, I’ve been busy with preparing for law school. At this point, I’ve heard back from most of my schools and all of my results have been positive. Right now, the short list includes:
- University of Pennsylvania (Ranked 8th)
- University of Virginia (Ranked 10th overall and 8th in International Law)
- University of Texas (Ranked 15th overall with one of the strongest Immigration Law programs in the country)
- George Washington University, which offered me $105,500 merit scholarship with free housing (Ranked 8th in International Law)
- University of Colorado, which offered me a full scholarship for all three years
The hard part is waiting to hear back about financial aid. While some schools (GW and CU) have already determined their merit scholarships, the others have not. Furthermore, none of the schools have even begun to determine my grant or loan eligibility – and you’re not allowed to work for your entire first year of law school. So I’m stoked that I’ve gotten into all of these prestigious schools, but I have no clue if I can afford to actually attend them. I don’t remember college being quite this frustrating, but maybe that’s because my mom was to there to help me. My advice: have your parents deal with all that confusing financial stuff for as long as possible!
Right now, there’s still a lot to figure out. I’m trying to visit all of my schools in the coming weeks. UT is flying me out in two weeks, and then I have a trip planned to D.C. and Charlottesville in early April. How am I missing all this class on the block plan, you wonder? I’m enrolled in an independent study with a really chill professor (the block plan is more flexible than you think). It’s crazy to think that I’ll have made my final decision within the next month…just in time to enjoy 8th block and my 22nd birthday!