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When I began my undergraduate studies at Northwestern, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be an engineer. What I did know¬†was that I wanted to study global health.

Upon beginning school, I immediately declared my minor (a major in global health wasn’t offered back in those days) and planned out a 4-year course schedule that included a study abroad in South Africa. As is always the case, those plans had to be rewritten. In my 2nd year, I accepted an engineering co-op with Johnson & Johnson’s medical device division, which delayed my graduation plans by one year and interrupted the clean course sequences I had so meticulously arranged. The plan went through another major revision when I added a second engineering major my 3rd year, and yet another when I changed my mind and removed that double major during my 4th year.

Throughout each rewrite, as courses were added and replaced and flexed and moved, one thing remained unchanged: I was going to South Africa. I switched back and forth between whether it would be in my 4th year or my 5th year and whether it would be in the winter or in the spring, but South Africa was going to happen no matter what.

Now, in the very last quarter of my 5th year of undergrad, I’m finally going. I’ll pack my bags tonight (because why do it before the last minute?) and fly out tomorrow, landing 32 hours later and transforming into reality the dream I’ve dreamed for so long.

non progredi est regredi

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