Updated: Feb 10
We had the opportunity of interviewing Maddie Mousseau '21, an alum of Georgetown University, about: College Applications, Exceptional Programs, and Extracurriculars.
Maddie is a recent French-American grad from Georgetown University where she pursued American Studies. She's completed three marketing internships at SAP Concur, a software company. In high school, Maddie was the student government co-President, was part of NHS, and help various leadership positions in Model UN as well as receiving multiple awards.
Key points she made:
"[Studying abroad] was a really wonderful experience that challenged me, and I’d been seeking that challenge. I absolutely experienced culture shock in a good way and got better at letting go of things that I couldn’t control."
"We also can always be open to discovering new activities and changing our minds about what we want to focus on."
Q: What’s a major difference between college and high school?
A: There is a lot more free time and self-directed learning in college, so that was a big learning curve for me; I had to be really cognizant of how I was spending my time, since in college, a lot of schoolwork happens outside of class hours.
Q: What type of campus culture does Georgetown have?
A: Social life centers around clubs, for many people. That’s not always the case, though - sometimes, a freshman floor becomes a strong friend group, or people from a small major can become very close.
Q: How would you describe the coursework in college?
A: Challenging but interesting! I enjoy being able to take classes on very specific subjects that professors are excited about.
Q: How did you find internship opportunities, study abroad programs, and extracurriculars to participate in?
A: I found opportunities through word of mouth and through internet research. For study abroad programs, it was really helpful to discuss different locations with advisors from the study abroad office.
Q: How do you spend your summers, weekends, or free time in college?
A: I like to spend time with friends, whether that’s watching movies or going for walks. The DC museum scene is also a great way to spend my time.
Q: Can you describe the Bilingual (French) International Baccalaureate Diploma?
A: Yes, the International Baccalaureate diploma is a rigorous high school program that helps students gain cultural awareness and an international perspective and focuses heavily on writing. In the bilingual program, students pursue literature courses in another language in which they are fluent.
Q: In addition to the typical coursework at your school, what else was required of you in order to gain this diploma?
A: Outside of classes, we also completed a Creativity, Action, Service project and wrote an Extended Essay.
Q: How do you think this program has benefited you as a person?
A: My writing skills improved greatly due to all of the practice that is part of the IB program, and I also improved on my time management skills, since the IB program required a good amount of homework time.
Q: You studied your fall semester of 2019 in Morocco; what drew you there?
A: I knew I wanted to experience a country that was pretty different from the United States. As a French speaker, I recognized it might be easier for me to learn about a country’s culture if I spoke one of its languages.
Q: Can you describe your experience in a foreign country?
A: It was a really wonderful experience that challenged me, and I’d been seeking that challenge. I absolutely experienced culture shock in a good way and got better at letting go of things that I couldn’t control. I feel like I grew as a person. If you’re interested, I wrote about my time abroad here: https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/people/maddie-mousseau.
Q: How were you able to build up a reputation to lead as the co-president of student government at your high school and for your various Model UN leadership positions including Director of Club
A: I worked hard in these extracurricular activities and always tried to be kind and helpful to others.
Q: What type of skills did you build in your leadership positions?
A: These positions helped me work on my teamwork skills, specifically as it relates to making sure things don’t fall through the cracks when there are multiple people working on the same project.
Q: How do you think your leadership positions have influenced your college admissions and college life?
A: My high school leadership roles likely showed colleges that I had passions outside of school and was dedicated to them. Also, after focusing on Model UN in high school, I was involved in Model UN in college, which helped me make friends and feel connected in a new college environment.
Q: What stood out to you about Model UN that made you want to become a part of it?
A: As a French-American person, I liked that Model UN focused on learning about different countries and cultures. I also appreciated its focus on interpersonal skills and relationship-building. Finally, I thought the competitive aspect was fun and motivating.
Q: Did you ever prioritize your extracurriculars above your schoolwork or grades?
A: School was always my first priority, above extracurriculars.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone doubting if their passion will get them anywhere, worth the time and trouble, or if it truly is what they love (or they should keep searching)?
A: I would encourage you to continue engaging in the activity if it excites you and brings you joy, while also reminding you that you are not obligated to continue anything in which the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. We also can always be open to discovering new activities and changing our minds about what we want to focus on.
Q: Whenever you felt like giving up, how did you get yourself motivated again?
A: I reminded myself to think about my future self; I knew my future self would be thankful for the work that I was putting in.
Q: None of us are perfect. How did you face challenges or deal with your failures?
A: I think about how I’ve failed before but managed to keep going, and I remind myself that failure is temporary.
Q: We all have our outlets where we can rejuvenate. What is yours?
A: Spending time with friends and exercising helps me destress and feel refreshed and ready for what’s ahead.