Transitioning from High School to University

Alia, Mechanical Engineering student at American University of Dubai

A random fact about me: I am interested in pulsar stars, spectroscopy and dark matter; also, I have spent way too much time on the Collatz conjecture that what is deemed acceptable!

Hey there! My name is Aliaa and I am a mechanical engineering student at AUD. I am originally from Egypt, but I was born and raised here in the UAE. I would say my favorite thing about AUD is its campus. AUD is right in the heart of media city and is located near some of the largest technology companies in the world - Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn, to name a few.

Despite the campus being located in such a bustling area, when you cross the gates and step into its yards, you are immediately carried away from the city and its cacophony into a quiet, green and rather placid area; the campus is especially beautiful at 5 pm. Here’s a graph to illustrate what I mean:

Leaving the familiar halls of your high school and wandering through the vast and uncharted hallways of university can be initially daunting. There is, inarguably, a feeling of familiarity and comfort that as high school seniors we wrestled to detach from; perhaps it’s growing wiser with your friends, taking classes that challenged you and made you curious about what lies beyond your school walls, walking through the hallways and into old classes, only to be swept by a swarm of memories that teleport you to older days, that make the transition to university a little unsettling. Transitioning from school to university is a big step forward, but it’s the first of a series of big leaps that you will be taking as you progress from one class to the other, as you take on projects you never thought you could do, as you grow in wisdom and knowledge and come to recognize your true passions

But let’s first address that anxious anticipation that we all experience in high school! The community at university is more diverse in passions and interests than our little high school community ever was/is. You will find people from all walks of life, Bringing their perspectives, experiences and cultures to the table,

Diversifying the community and enabling you to connect with parts of the world that you have never been to. I recall my first semester here at AUD; I was admitted in spring - uncommon to the regular admission in fall. Nonetheless, I was able to connect with people of similar interests and ventured to find ways in which I can do what I love! In my first year at AUD, my physics professor gave me the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Martin Chalfie at a Nobel laureate event, which was a remarkable and unforgettable experience. In my second and third semesters here, I became the event coordinator of the Women in Engineering Club, the social media coordinator of the Water and Environment Foundation Club and the president of the Harvard College in Asia Program.

I traveled to Harvard to debate healthcare policies in 8 different Asian countries, and with the extraordinary guidance and expansive experience of the external relations office, put forth a plan for a youth resource center in Kenya that we will be constructing as participants in the Clinton Global Initiative University Program. As you progress from one semester to the other, you will learn, make mistakes, and ultimately, get closer to where you want to be, both academically and professionally. You will build your character as you experience events that push you to your limit and revel in an intellectual environment where all your questions can be answered or explored. Therefore, I say it is time for you to now embrace these new halls, take comfort in their unfamiliarity, make them echo the sounds of your tears and laughter, etch on them memories that you will never forget, take what they offer of battles, challenges, wisdom, and knowledge and make them your own. Enter to grow in wisdom and depart to serve the world with heart and passion. But for as long as you are here, make these halls your home and, proudly, cast your colors upon them for other generations to see, for a painting for the ages!