Hand it to Hulver

With a bright future ahead of her, Amanda Hulver balances excellence in academics, DECA, and of course, Minecraft.

Aris Pastor, Co-Editor-in-Chief

You’ve been to Caltech, Yale, MIT, and a host of other college campuses. What was your favorite part of your college travels?

My favorite college visit is probably MIT’s campus preview weekend, and it was really fun because they had like 700 events going on over the span of three and a half days. Well, actually, it’s MIT, so 3.14 days. But it was really fun because it was kind of a “pick your own adventure” kind of weekend where there were a million events going on at once, and you had to just pick whatever is the most fun and what you wanted to do most in the moment. Two of the most memorable events were a banana building tower competition, where you had to build a tower almost completely out of bananas and try to make it as high as possible–which, considering that MIT is full of engineering students, we were hilariously bad at it–and then another [event] that really stuck out to me was a maid cafe! I think it really showcases MIT’s kind of interesting, quirky culture. It was just very fun talking to students. They didn’t take themselves too seriously like you would think at a school like MIT. They weren’t afraid to let loose and put on a maid costume and just have fun.

Which college essay prompt was the most difficult to answer, and what did you write in it? 

I think it was for Brown. It was something like, “Talk about a time when a belief you had was challenged and how did you deal with that situation?” I talked about a debate we did in German class actually, and the debate was entirely in German. It was about plastic surgery and whether minors should be allowed to have plastic surgery, and it talked about the social ramifications of it, and also about how it can be helpful to some people’s self-image–stuff like that. And actually, debating it in German really helped me to think through my ideas more thoughtfully because German doesn’t come easily like English does, so it forces you to really think about all the words that are coming out of your mouth. As we were debating, I realized that the other side was making really good points, and I eventually realized that my views did really align with the other side and I was sticking to what I originally assumed just to be stubborn. It was a really interesting experience, and definitely really challenging, because I am not that good at German.

Which college are you committing to?

I’m going MIT.

What do you do in your free time?

I really like to play video games. Specifically, I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft and Stardew Valley and Celeste recently, so I really like cozier games with nice soundtracks, which are really relaxing. I also do a lot of reading. I’m getting back into reading for fun, hopefully now that I’ll have a little bit more free time. Other than that, I’ve been getting into crafty stuff! I’ve been making friendship bracelets, and I really want to learn how to crochet right now. It’s really therapeutic.

Any book recommendations?

Okay, well something I read for English actually is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It was a really beautiful book. It was also kind of difficult to read. It was the kind of thing where you have to reread passages because they’re so poetic that you don’t get all of the meaning on the first read-through, but it was really, really interesting because I’m not used to reading poetry in such [a] long form like that. Ocean Vuong has a way with words; it’s insane.

What is your favorite Minecraft mob?

This is so hard! I really like axolotls and mooshrooms.

What has been your best experience in North Allegheny?

Well, I have to say, probably DECA ICDC last year. [We were] going to Atlanta, and it was just really, really fun to get to go on a trip with friends where there were basically no chaperones. There were chaperones! But it was a lot more freedom than I’m used to, so it was a lot of fun to just see a new city and get to compete and meet people from across the world.

What is your favorite North Allegheny class?

I would say APUSH with Mr. Venezia. I’m not really the history buff type person, but I really love Mr. Venezia’s style of teaching, and it was really, really engaging. He made history fun and funny! Also, I had friends in that class, which helped. It was fun to compete, and our team won, not to flex or anything. We were the “Stock Market Crash,” and we won.

What do you plan to do after college?

As of now, I’m planning on getting my Bachelor’s degree and dipping, because I’ve had enough school. But I think that I want to either go into software engineering at a startup or maybe working with nonprofits in the future. But also, I’m really not sure about my future plans yet! All I know is that I do want it to involve technology and computer science in some way.

How do you maintain balance and deal with burnout?

Burnout’s been really rough this year. I think this might be the worst sleep schedule I’ve had ever. I somehow made it through junior year getting a reasonable seven plus hours of sleep, and then this year, it was more on the five to six side. But I think one of the key things I’ve realized this year is that it’s senior year, so all the work from the last four years is really hitting and the burnout is real. So I really think it’s just learning to give yourself that time to relax and to give yourself a little bit of grace and to not beat yourself up over not constantly working. I’ve just kind of learned to be okay with not constantly being on the grind and giving myself little moments to just chill and listen to music or read a book or something like that. Other than that, time management is definitely a problem for me, but I’ve been trying to calendar things out a lot more, to balance my extracurriculars with my social stuff and schoolwork. At least now, it’s kind of settling down, and I’m looking forward to actually having more time for me and my friends.

What is the funniest extemporaneous speaking attention grabbing device (AGD) you’ve used/seen?

There are a couple that I reuse over and over. My favorite one is whenever I get a climate change topic, I start with, “As rapper Nelly once said, ‘It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.’ Don’t worry, I’m not going to start stripping, but it is getting a little hot in here because the world is warming up.” And then I go into boring statistics about climate change.

What is your typical Starbucks order?

I actually worked at Starbucks, and I’ve tried a lot of drinks. But I think the classic that I always go back to is an iced chai with oat milk and brown sugar syrup. And then when it’s in season, I like pumpkin cold foam on top.