The interview was great. It seemed that the only obstacle was my age. It wasn't clear if they'd accept me at 16... I don't even remember how I felt when I got the rejection letter. Maybe I was even a bit relieved at not having to be that far away from home so soon... and going to Cameron College (University?) would probably have meant being at the top of my class, which didn't sound too bad. My parents and I went for a meeting there and it seemed as if I'd be able to live in the dorms and that somehow they'd work out kosher food for me. I even thought my parents would get me a car.
My graduation was in the end of May. It happened to be on Shavuot & I didn't participate in the ceremony (probably the source of tens of years of nightmares about being forced to stay in high school to finish some additional requirements, despite having several children who live in a different country (hey, it evolved)). On June 4th, we arrived in Israel on vacation. My older brother had moved to Israel the previous year & we all flew over to visit. During our trip, my mom took me over to the admissions office at Hebrew University to discuss what I could do during the coming academic year to increase my chances of getting in the following year. We happened to speak to the head of the school who asked a few questions and then accepted me on the spot. When my parents went back to the US, I stayed here. It was surreal...
So, there I was at 16, living in the university dorms on my own, with my parents 7000 miles away, in the days before cellphones and internet. I shared a POB with my brother, wrote letters almost daily and checked my box several times a day. My mom must have been really busy writing letters that year (good preparation for her blog?) because there was almost always a letter waiting for me.
It was a great year. I met lots of great people and we hung out together. Movies were really cheap, so we'd go out for movies two or three times a week, even though we were all on crazy-tight budgets. My favorite course that year was chemistry. I didn't mind calculus either, since the teacher had an amazing Argentinian accent in Hebrew. I dragged myself out of bed to be in class 3x a week at 8am because I liked listening to him. It was too bad that I didn't understand a thing (probably a stupid choice to take calculus in a foreign language when you're 16). I got a 24 on the final and a 21 on the retest. That was the end of calculus for me. (In retrospect, no great loss...)
5 years ago