After a tumultuous high school experience, Long Island senior Daria Rose has a bright future ahead: The 18-year-old applied to seven Ivy League colleges and has been accepted to all of them.
But when Rose was a sophomore, her world turned upside down completely. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit, forcing Rose’s family to evacuate their beloved home in Baldwin. The house was completely destroyed by fire.
Rose’s family lived in several hotels and her grandmother’s house after the storm. She said moving made finishing school work extremely tough.
“It was hard because it’s really unpredictable when you don’t have a stable place to live,” she told ABC News. “[You] don’t know if you’re moving here next, or there.”
Rose lost all of her belongings in the fire, including clothes, furniture, makeup, jewelry and pictures.
“My mom and my dad and my family, they made me realize what was important,” she said. “Stuff is just stuff. What is important is your health, education, your family.”
After about a year and a half, Rose and her family finally moved into a new home in Baldwin.
Rose wrote about her Hurricane Sandy experience for her college application essay.
“It talks about the storm, but the focus is how reading helped me cope,” she said. “I was living in these small spaces but in my head I was able to escape … find myself in a literary world.”
Rose said she always leaned toward Yale when it came to college preferences.
“I’ve always known I wanted to go to Yale,” she said. “But junior year I started looking at all my options and I realized how many great schools there were out there.”
She applied to seven of the eight Ivy League colleges. Their decisions were posted online on March 31.
“I went home and checked Harvard first, and then Princeton, and then Brown … and as they kept coming in I was just astonished. I couldn’t even breathe,” Rose said. “It was an amazing moment.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” she added. “I thought I’d get in maybe one or two.”
Now, Rose has a big decision ahead of her. While she’s always loved Yale for its environment, Rose says she’s also interested in Harvard and Princeton. This week she’ll have her last two college visits at Yale and Harvard.
“They’re all such great schools,” she said. “[I’ll] try to see where I’ll fit in the best.”
Wherever Rose ends up, she says she plans to study political science and Russian literature.
She has until May 1 to decide.