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Ellie DeGarmo '13, Princeton University

For 19 members of the Class of 2013, the college experience will include playing a competitive sport. Among them is Ellie '13, who will play lacrosse for Princeton University. Ellie appreciates that at Princeton, athletics and academics don’t conflict—each day, there is a dedicated 3-hour block of time allotted for her lacrosse practice. Read more about why she chose Princeton.

Tell me about your college search process.

My college process was unique because I am a recruited athlete for lacrosse, so my college search took place mostly in the summer before junior year, which was a whole year earlier than most people in my grade. I knew that I wanted a school where playing a sport would not compromise my academics. When I visited Princeton they told me that I could take any classes that I wanted to and that there was a three-hour chunk of time during the day when there weren't any classes, only athletics. That was really appealing to me. I knew that I wanted to be on the east coast, not too far away from Baltimore. Also, my dad went to Princeton, and I remember that the first time I ever visited it, I fell in love with it. I looked at a lot of other schools, but Princeton always remained at the top of my list.

You’ve been a three-sport varsity athlete all through high school, and now you’re going to be playing lacrosse in college. Did you ever consider playing any other sport in college?

My plan was always to play a sport in college. When I was younger, soccer was my life, and I thought maybe I would play soccer at UNC and be like Mia Hamm. But then I came to Baltimore and started playing lacrosse, and that became more of my focus. I’m also very passionate about ice hockey, and I would love to play on a club team next year at Princeton.

You’re planning to study medicine and eventually become a doctor. Where did that interest come from?

I’ve been interested in medicine for quite some time now—when I was younger I used to watch medical shows instead of cartoons, and my friends thought that was a little weird. It fascinated me, and that evolved into me wanting to be a doctor. I will say that as the reality of becoming a doctor and how much schooling it involves has become apparent I’ve thought about other options, but I definitely know that I want to do something with science—that’s what really gets me going. This year in A.P. Environmental Science I was introduced to public health, and that field also interests me a lot.

How do you think that Bryn Mawr has helped prepare you for college?

It’s prepared me so well. They teach us to have a great work ethic here. There is a lot of hard work, but the teachers help you learn how to manage your time. They teach you to ask important questions, to be curious, to love learning, and to never settle for anything less than your potential. Bryn Mawr is about bold voices and strong women, and it turns us into girls who can be just as good as the men that we will be competing with in school and for jobs.

If you had to describe Bryn Mawr in three words, what would you say?

That’s such a hard question, because I feel like words don’t do Bryn Mawr justice. Like, I would say “amazing,” “a utopia”…I would say “friendships.” But I feel like those aren’t even specific enough. Can I do conjoined words? I would say amazing friendships, challenging work environment, driven young women…just an incredible place.
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How do you think that playing lacrosse at Bryn Mawr has prepared you for playing lacrosse in college?

My four years on varsity have definitely prepared me for college lacrosse. I learned not to give up, to keep my head up, to play hard at practice. Our coaches have also prepared us mentally for the next level. They expect so much from us, and they set the bar high to make sure that we’re working hard. They’ve definitely done an incredible job getting us ready for the college level.

Besides sports, what extracurriculars would you be interested in participating in at Princeton?

I really enjoyed photography here at Bryn Mawr, so maybe something with photography. I would also like to do an outdoor club—I love to hike and camp—or maybe something with an environmental club.

Tell me about a teacher that you had here who was really influential.

I would have to say [Kris] Schaffner '93. I’m very much a math and science person, so with English I was always not very excited about the class. But she made me like English. I took two electives with her my senior year—Modern Drama and Memoirs. She helped me improve my discussion skills, and she opened my eyes to two different genres. I learned to read and love plays, and also memoirs. She showed me completely different books than I’d ever read before, and that I’ve really enjoyed, and she’s kept me engaged.

What do you think that you will miss the most about Bryn Mawr?

I’ll miss the close-knit community and the sisterhood that we have. There’s a special bond that we have here with all the girls at our school, and we’re all really close with our teachers. That’s huge. I’ll definitely miss both of those things.
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