Name: Maggie Weese
Hometown: Bel Air, MD
Year: Class of 2017
Intended Plan of Study: Biology and Global and Environmental Change and Sustainability
There were three things I wanted for Christmas last year:
1. To win an aluminum can collection competition. My school was competing against some local rival schools and nothing says Christmas like creaming your rivals in recycling aluminum cans.
2. The second season of Parks and Recreation because I want to be Leslie Knopp when I grow up. Also, that show is hilarious, and I enjoy laughing.
3. To get into Johns Hopkins University.
My mom would laugh and sarcastically say, “Wow Maggie. You are really shooting low” and believe me, I knew I was asking for a lot this year. With winning the can off came the stench of fermenting soda cans for a whole month; with getting Parks and Recreation on DVD came my incessant laughter and distraction from everything else; and with getting into Hopkins came its $62,000 price tag. But I was hopeful.
Well, December 15th could not approach any slower. Every day I would check my email “just in case” they chose to let me know early. But they never did. Apparently the whole 15th thing was set in stone. Well, after weeks of “patience” (or as I call it, freaking out a lot), the 15th had arrived. Everyone I had ever talked to (including two random strangers at Panera) knew that to me, this was more than a date. It was a declaration of my future, with or without Hopkins.
Now I should mention, I am a very superstitious person. It has gotten to the point that I will wait until I feel like it is the “right time” to check grades, scores, or even college letters. What determines the right time? It always varies. If I have a really great day sometimes I cannot help but think “Oh wow! This luck will never slow down” so I check. Or a really bad day, “Wow today is horrible. It only makes sense to get better,” so I check. But a lot of times I am wrong. It is not a sure fire equation but it makes me feel better about checking things. For example, I waited about two weeks before checking my AP scores last year, not because I did not care but because “it was not the right time.” Call it insane, call it pointless, it is just a weird thing I do (and probably also insane and pointless).
So when the 15th came it is an understatement to say I was nervous and being over analytical. That day I had school (oh the days of high school) and then a Christmas party at five with the members of the research lab that I worked in. I decided that I was going to wait until the right moment to check my Hopkins status whether that was at the Christmas party, the moment the clock hit six, or a week later.
So there was school, a blur of numbers, figures, and cell membranes. Then getting ready for the Christmas party, grabbing anything red and green and throwing it on. The drive to the Christmas party, the reality beginning to set in that I was approaching the finish line of my waiting. Then the Christmas party. I cannot really tell you anything significant from that party. A lot of eggnog and Christmas sweaters. People constantly asking me if I had either checked or gotten in. My constant “Uh I have not checked yet. It does not come out till six o’clock.” And then came six o’clock. At that point no one else remembered. But I did. Still, it did not feel like the right time, so I continued to wait. Presents were exchanged, hugs shared, cookies offered. I just sat and waited.
Finally the party ended, and I hauled my way back to my car. The drive was about 40 minutes and I knew it would be pure agony sitting and waiting. But I began the journey. I was 70% into the trip when the moment came. I realized it was time. I was ready to check my status. All I could think about was Hopkins. The beautiful campus, the hilarious math professor I had met on my first visit, the delicious chicken sandwich I had eaten at CharMar. It was all hitting me at once. I had to check! To get home! To..
That was when I got pulled over by a cop. You have to understand, I am a rule follower. I do not jaywalk and I think bank robbers are bad. But it was 11:35 and it was dark and I guess I did not really notice that the speed had changed from 55 mph to 40 mph. The cop sauntered over to my car and asked his question. “Where is it that you were headed in such a rush?” He wanted to make sure I felt guilty, and he was succeeding. “And please tell me why you were going 15 mph over the speed limit? What was so important that you would risk your life?” I choked up an answer “Uh I was coming back from a Christmas party. I was on my way home.” He turned to me “A Christmas party? Have you been drinking ma’am?” I felt like I was going to throw up from nervousness. “No sir I have not. You can check me if you want!” He looked at me puzzled, “No I believe you, but why are you so frazzled.” I felt like this was kind of a rhetorical question because I had, for the first time in my life, been pulled over. Was I not supposed to be freaked out? But instead of giving him sass I brought up my other fear. “I find out tonight if I got into Johns Hopkins, the school of my dreams.” He shook his head, asked for my license and registration and turned away.
So more anticipation. Now I waited for both my Hopkins status and my ticket. It was clear that I was getting one. A few minutes later (or possibly centuries) the cop walked up to my window, turned to me and smiled, “Ma’am you should never be going that fast. You could die and then never get to go to your dream school, which, by the way is an incredible school.” He told me I was receiving a warning (by some Christmas miracle) and to slow down next time. He walked away and as he did he shouted “Oh and good luck with Hopkins.”
So then came the drive home, going five miles under the speed limit, the sprint into my house, the quick login to my email and my acceptance into what the cop had called an “incredible school.”
I am grateful for that cop because he gave me the luck I might have needed, but I am also grateful to Hopkins. And not only for accepting me and making my Christmas. My school did win the can off and I did get season two of Parks and Recreation, but nothing tops Hopkins. Not only for giving me the chance of a lifetime, a chance to find myself amongst the walls of Mudd Hall or the hill that is the beach. But for keeping my record clean. For getting me out of a ticket.