BATAVIA – After finishing her first year of college, Colleen Madlinger has some advice for those high school students about to graduate.
“Be mindful of college, but don’t stress out about it,” Madlinger said in an email interview. “Spend more time on making connections than on getting perfect grades [unless you’re pre-med]. Find a professor whose research you might be interested in, and send them an email. You don’t have anything to lose. Get involved with different activities and make friends with upperclassmen, especially those in your major.”
Madlinger is attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after graduating from Rosary High School in 2013. Her family lives near Batavia. She is pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering. Madlinger also said she is considering getting a minor in Japanese, as she has started to study the language while at MIT.
“Also, MIT has this great program, MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, which makes it easy to work abroad during my time at MIT,” Madlinger wrote. “Right now, I am working toward going to Japan the summer after my sophomore year to work at The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.”
Although she is away from her family, Madlinger said she is too busy to be homesick.
“Time flies by so fast here, and there is always something to be done, which doesn’t leave much time for homesickness,” she said. “For me, it feels like I saw my family a month ago during winter break, but obviously more time than a month has passed.”
Outside of academics, Madlinger also is a member of the MIT Alpine Ski Team and is an associate production editor at the MIT newspaper, The Tech. All in all, Madlinger said she has been enjoying her college experience.
“I’ve met some of the most diverse and inspiring students here,” Madlinger said. “The autonomy – being able to cook for myself, go where I want, and choose my own hours – is fabulous.”