Concordia Shanghai Jun 1 2022

Class of '22 Road to College: Thriving Outside One's Comfort Zone

Todays story comes from Jessica Meng. Though she has been studying at Concordia for less than two years, she keeps seeking passion and thrives every day.

Whether she is attending classes, participating in sports, singing or dancing, she seizes every opportunity, jumps out of her comfort zone, and bravely explores new interests.


How did you feel when you got the news of your acceptance?

I received the news of my acceptance in the middle of finals week, in the morning while on my way to school. The night before, I couldn’t fall asleep because I was incredibly nervous and anxious awaiting my Early Decision result. That morning, my dad had gotten in the car with me to go to school so that I would have someone to open the letter with, and as I opened my acceptance letter everything felt almost unreal - I had to read it about three times to make sure I wasn't mistaken and had actually gotten in. For the first few minutes my dad and I couldn't stop cheering and for the entire day I wore the biggest smile on my face. I was extremely relieved and felt that my hard work these past few years had finally paid off. It really felt amazing to have that moment and that day to just feel proud and happy for myself - because nobody could take that moment away from me. I went into my final exams that day with ease feeling confident and relaxed, and ended up actually doing really well in them.


Is there a particular program or field of study you want to pursue? 

I’ve always been someone with a lot of different interests, so I chose to apply for a program that I thought could open a lot of doors and not box me into just one field. Furthermore, I've consistently enjoyed more creative, discussion based and hands-on learning, which made the Hospitality Management program at Cornell University very attractive to me. I'm also interested in Business, Investing and Entrepreneurship and thus this program being in Cornell's SC Johnson College of Business can allow me to branch out into the business world with many opportunities and options for what I want to do in the future. Another one of my greatest loves throughout the course of my entire life has been music and performing arts - singing, songwriting, acting, dancing, playing instruments, honestly just anything related to performing and being on stage. I'm definitely considering a minor in media and performing arts, as well as psychology because this field has always been really interesting to me: I understand the importance of not only understanding others, but understanding myself as well. 

In your opinion, what made your application stand out?

If I had to pick one thing that especially differentiates my application from others, it would be my essays; I put a lot of myself - including my character and personality - into all my essays (personal statement and supplemental essays) as I did my best to "show not tell." For me, it was really important to show admissions officers who I am through the culmination of my experiences rather than just listing and describing several achievements. It was also a big part of my application to make sure that everything came together (my classes, achievements, clubs, leadership positions) to display various themes, and show that I am truly passionate about everything I wrote about - including my love for languages, music and performing arts, social entrepreneurship, and my commitment to school spirit. I talked a lot about my identity and explained how being French-American-Chinese has heavily influenced many factors of my life: extracurricular activities, beliefs, and sports etc.


Which classes, programs, and/or faculty at Concordia helped support your interest in your planned field of study?

When I first came to Concordia in January 2021, both Mr. and Mrs. Klar welcomed me with open arms and helped me instantly feel at home. Mr. Klar was my AP Lang and US History teacher, and Mrs. Klar was my counselor. It wasn't the specific classes that supported my interest in my planned field of study, but they were both able to support my interdisciplinary interests and help me continue exploring and embracing my creative side, by consistently challenging me to both learn and do more about the world. Mr. Paulson was also one of the most influential faculty members in my Concordia experience; he was my AP Economics and International Relations teacher and was able to teach me how to apply my knowledge into real world situations. He was also the primary teacher with whom I have been able to explore my intellectual curiosity with, by having extended conversations about tackling real world problems and current events, as well as playing a hearty game of chess every now and then. 


Are there any other activities (clubs, teams, projects) that had a significant impact on you during your time at Concordia?

Some of my fondest memories of my time at Concordia belong to my experience with being in a student-founded and student-led band - known across the school as “The Buas”. We were originally a band along with Mr. Barrientes being one of the founding members, and now with Dr. Fujiwara as our supervisor and bass guitar player. Not only do I get to do what I love most with a group of incredibly talented friends, we get to share what we love to the community together. Being a part of the band as "the new girl" was a huge stepping stone for integrating into the community, and since then we've all grown so much individually as musicians, but also collectively as a band, and even as a family. Even though I'm the only female member of the band, I never once felt excluded as the boys always made me feel valued and welcome as a member of the band. Singing at prom, homecoming, and gate greetings were all unforgettable experiences because they were some of the first times I truly felt at home at Concordia.  

Other extracurriculars that have had a significant impact on my Concordia experience are being on the Varsity Soccer and Cheerleading Team, and being a part of Student Council. Soccer has been really special to me because it was the first full season for a sport that I played at Concordia - being part of a team was a great opportunity for me to make friends, strengthen bonds, and integrate into the community while learning to be a team player; being on the Cheer team was just an experience I will look back on very fondly because it combines some of my favorite things - smiling, dancing, spending time with my friends, and cheering others on. Student Council was an integral part of my Concordia experience because it allowed me to feel like I had a voice and actually express it within the community, and also allowed me to strengthen many relationships and bonds with others in the Student Council team. 

Learn more about University Acceptances for the Class of 2022

How do you anticipate your college life?

The idea of going into college is quite nerve-wracking because it forces us to say goodbye to all the comfort and familiarity we currently have. For me, the most important thing to remember is that college is whatever I make out of it, so I’m going to do my best to take advantage of the opportunities I'll have and continue to be brave and a risk-taker in the next stages of my life. 

Do you have any advice for Concordia high school students?

One thing that made our grade really special, both in and out of the college processes, is that we work together rather than against each other. It’s really become like a second family because at the end of the day we are all in this together, and it’s high school is so much more enjoyable when we’re all helping each other get through it. My advice to underclassmen would be to take risks, try out for that sports team, sit with someone new during lunch. You never know how much you’ll miss if you don’t take the opportunity to meet get to know everyone - because you can learn so much from every single person. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes - remember that our past does not define you because there is always so much room to grow.  

Stay tuned for more stories from the Class of 2022 as they continue their journey on the road to college.