Life was much more unstable for Rose and her family three years ago, when she was a sophomore in high school. The family’s Long Island, N.Y. home was destroyed by a fire during Hurricane Sandy. They lost all of their belongings. “My mom and my dad and my family, they made me realize what was important,” she told ABC News. “Stuff is just stuff. What is important is your health, education, your family.”
Before they found a home, the family shuffled between hotels, and their grandmother’s house for a year and a half. “It was hard because it’s really unpredictable when you don’t have a stable place to live,” said Rose. “[You] don’t know if you’re moving here next, or there.”
She wrote about the ordeal in her college entrance essay, explaining how reading helped her “cope” with the living situation. “I was living in these small spaces but in my head I was able to escape … find myself in a literary world.”
Rose applied to seven out of the country’s eight ivy league schools, even though Yale was originally her top choice. She figured only “one or two” schools would accept her. “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. It was an amazing moment.”
The 18-year-old has until May 1 to pick a schools. Wherever she lands, she wants to study political science and Russian literature.