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The world’s her oyster

Anna Rezk nabs eight Ivy League acceptance letters

Anna Rezk studied hard to gain acceptance to eight Ivy League schools.

It’s not every day a member of the community is accepted into all eight Ivy League schools, but that was the honor bestowed on Anna Rezk, 18, a senior at High Tech High School in North Bergen who lives in Bayonne. She wants to be a doctor, or maybe a writer, and plans to go to either Princeton or Brown.
“My dream school was always Princeton,” said Rezk, who visited the campus for the first time in middle school for a science program. “It’s in New Jersey, and it’s a beautiful campus and nice city.”
Like manystudents entering college, Rezk wants to use what she learns to help people and become a valued member of her community. What exactly that will look like is often up in the air for a young person finding her way. After all, a high percentage of students change their majors before graduation.
Rezk and her family value STEM fields. She plans to study to become a doctor and possibly minor in English.
“I didn’t always want to be a doctor,” she said. “I wanted to be a writer, and I always wanted to read a lot.”
The roles students end up playing in their communities as adults are informed by their life experiences. When Rezk was 13, her father was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer.
“He beat that and lived about six years,” Rezk said. “Seeing him in a hospital was hard. I’m a really small person, and he was a really big guy. He was the strongest person I knew. To see him physically torn down by something I’ve never even heard of before. It impacted me in a way that opened a door to a career I never thought about before.”
For Rezk, becoming a doctor is a lot more than just knowing the facts. “It’s about being compassionate and caring about your patients,” said Rezk, who admires the work of oncologists, who tried saving her father, OB/GYN doctors, and general physicians, who she says “don’t get enough credit.”
“My personal physician is a great guy,” she said, expressing admiration for general physicians’ place in the community and their reputations for getting to know and care for their patients personally.
“They are in a position to emphasize preventative care,” which Rezk strongly supports. “My dad was working all the time,” she said.“He never went to the doctor. Never went to get a checkup. That’s part of the reason his cancer was caught so late.”

“I’ve had a lot of people come to me for advice, and it’s a little weird because I don’t feel like I’ve done anything that anyone else hasn’t done.” – Anna Rezk


Great expectations

“I’ve had a lot of people come to me for advice, and it’s a little weird because I don’t feel like I’ve done anything that anyone else hasn’t done,” Rezk said. Her schedule was “pretty packed.” She wakes up by 6:40 every morning and is generally asleep by 11 p.m. every night. As a junior, she studied for an hour every day for the SATs and stayed late at school two nights a week for clubs and was home by 7.
Like many high achievers, Rezk is likely downplaying her accomplishments. She soared through a plethora of challenging studies throughout her academic career, measured by SAT scores that were 30 points below perfect and an unreal 5.063 GPA. The question is will it be worth it? That depends on the goal and how you define “worth.”
A disproportionate number of Ivy League students end up in the high-income finance sector compared to those in other schools. But, according to the New York Times, Ivy League students express no more desire than other students to work in that sector.
Rezk is aware of this trend and rejects it.
“I don’t think that’s going to be in my future,” she said. “I don’t want to sound mean, but a lot of econ and finance majors are focused on money and just making money. That’s not what I’m looking for. A profession should be more impactful to other people’s lives than the stock market. The fact is that populations are increasing and there are fewer doctors.”
Ivy League schools have also gotten a bad rap for being overly competitive – a culture Rezk says that she would also resist.
“I think there is always a little competitiveness that makes [academic] relationships healthy,” Rezk said. “My main goal is to get a campus that is welcoming, and helping each other out, not pulling each other down.”

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com.

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