This year’s seniors are starting to look at graduate degree programs and potential jobs as their graduation draws closer every day. Racheal Amelung is no different—except for the fact that she just turned 19 at the beginning of October. As a credit senior, Amelung could even graduate after this semester. The only thing that stands in her way is the fact that she hasn’t been at SLU long enough.
Amelung started her journey in seventh grade when she was placed in eighth-grade math. After taking Algebra 2 her freshman year, she was accepted to the Missouri Academy program at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. The program is a two-year, early-entrance college program for exceptional students.
While there, Amelung took courses in STEM with the intent of becoming a microbiologist but ended up falling in love with political science after taking a government class as part of her core curriculum. She graduated from the Missouri Academy program in the spring of 2015, and transferred to SLU, where she is now studying political science.
Her main interest in political science is in international relations, especially with East Asia and Russia. Inspired by one of her professors, she hopes to complete an internship with the United Nations after graduating with her master’s degree next year. She’s also interested in working for the State Department, or a foreign relations think tank.
Besides all her academic endeavors, Amelung also fills her days with involvement in Model United Nations, political roundtables, Kappa Alpha Theta and serving on the Panhellenic Judiciary Board.
Despite her busy life, however, Amelung names a feeling of culture shock as one of her greatest challenges here at SLU. The Missouri Academy program had strict rules, and an 8:30 p.m. curfew on weekdays. “We pretty much lived in a nice prison,” she said.
The fact that she didn’t have to be accountable for anyone but herself was also different. “For the first month or two, I probably lived under the old curfew anyway,” she said.
But despite the transition, she’s thriving. After all, she’s done it before. “Most people would think that moving away at 15 would be really difficult, but I’ve always been one of those more independent people,” she said. “It was probably more difficult for my parents than it was for me.”