18-year-old me was totally confident
she could handle all that King’s had to offer. I thought I would balance academic perfection, a college sport, and a vibrant social life all while conquering New York City with ease. I remember telling my admissions counselor that I was worried King’s wouldn’t be challenging enough. He laughed and told me he’d never heard anyone call King’s “easy.” I smiled and was sure I’d be the first.
After moving in, I quickly discovered that simple tasks like getting groceries seemed next to impossible between my sports-related injuries and the physical toll the City takes on its newest residents. I felt I had very little in common with the students around me. I was working harder in school than I ever had before and was barely moving the needle. After my first semester, I was tired and lonely, and like many King’s first-years, I wanted to quit.
What I didn’t know then is that King’s breaks you down to build you up again, often without you noticing. A scene from Brave New World, a King’s first-semester staple, stuck in my mind throughout that first Christmas break. After the leader of a “utopian” society explains to an outsider that his society prefers to live in drug-induced and mindless comfort, the outsider replies “I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry. I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” I realized quitting would have been choosing comfort, and King’s had given me a glimpse of something else. It was anything but comfortable, but King’s promised
flourishing, if I stuck around long enough to learn what that really meant. 
So, I stayed and watched as King’s changed me. The liberal arts education warmed my practical heart to history, philosophy, politics, and literature and showed me that human flourishing is about way more than academic or financial success. The community in the House of QE1 rallied around me when I finally admitted I was struggling. The City never got any easier, but I learned that adapting to living there was a lot like healing my sprained ankles – it just took some time.
King’s challenged and humbled me in ways 18-year-old me never could’ve imagined, and while I learned so many lessons, the overarching theme was this: Choose humility. Choose faith. Choose the hard thing. God will take care of the rest.
I’m so thankful to King’s, its faculty, and its students for investing in me. It’s an extraordinary place, and it’s my hope and prayer that it continues to change the lives of students for years to come.

Renae Maganza
Alumna | House of Queen Elizabeth I | Class of '21
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