Arielle Howell is a senior studying Bioengineering and pursuing the research capstone track in the Yager lab. She is involved in multiple clubs on campus, including the water polo team and Rotaract. After graduation, Arielle will take two gap years and then apply to medical school.
“I started at UW after Running Start and was able to begin core the spring of my freshman year. This was a big jump for me and definitely pushed my limits. I found myself often sick, most likely from not taking care of myself and not giving myself breaks. For me, there was a lot of imposter syndrome, thinking ‘why did I get in,’ or, ‘do I deserve to be here,’ when I saw all these other really accomplished and intelligent people. But, as we all learn, you can’t constantly compare yourself to others. There’s always someone who does better than you in some aspect of their life, but you’ll be doing better in some other aspect of your life. I found that by being open and honest with others you will see everyone is experiencing their own hardships and is often willing to lend a hand to help you through yours. Your classmates, TAs and professors are there to help you move forward. So don’t isolate yourself.
College becomes your life. Core is consuming and it is a majority of what you do. You’ll see your chort every single day, inside and outside of class, in office hours and doing homework together. They become your friends, but at the same time you need to find outside support and exposure to other things. In the real world, companies or graduate schools aren’t looking for robots, they want someone who can actually make human connections to be a leader and team player. I have found that focusing on making yourself a well-rounded person is healthy in many aspects.
To me, being well-rounded became more important than being at the top of the class. I find that balance through exercise and sports. My parents are endurance athletes, so they pushed me to not only do well at school but also to be very active. The summer after freshman year I biked the Oregon-California coast with my dad. That was one of my favorite memories from the last three years. Seeing the coast from the point of view of a bike and spending time with family while you still can is something college doesn’t offer you. Leading up to the ride I had to train and learn my limits. There were some days when we were biking in over 100 degree weather for 80 miles a day with a lot of vert. But the lessons I learned from the ride extended beyond exercise, and I truly enjoyed the routine of waking up everyday to ride. It was therapeutic for me.
I’m also a part of the UW women’s water polo club. Over time it’s grown to be more and more valuable to me because it provides regular exercise, which is so important for me to stay mentally sane. It’s also a break from school and a chance to hang out with people outside of BioE that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. At practice you don’t talk about classes or your research, you can just talk about a play we are trying to run or just have a casual chat with your friends. One of the best factors is that it’s an all women’s team, so it’s filled with amazing, strong women that inspire me in different ways. Water polo is the kind of sport that attracts aggressive people [laughs]. Many of the women are really strong and inspirational. The team has become like family because we’ve all bonded over the sport together. We’ll be at practice, and I’ll step back and see that everyone looks so happy and is having a good time with each other. It’s just a happy moment outside of all the pressures of university.
I don’t know if I’m excited to graduate! I think I’m still struggling with what to take away from my college experience and what comes next. Though it’s early to really know what our life plans are. If you think about it most of us are only 21 and 22. I think I’ve realized that putting your best foot forward and following your own passions is the best you can do. You don’t even know where you can end up in a year. All you can do is try to enjoy what you’re doing right now.”