September 29th, 2012
Four years ago, I remember myself having decided to study Civil Engineering, with the dream of starting my undergraduate studies in a western university. Perhaps, influenced more from my parent's desire and experience than my own will, I chose to attend Epoka University. Epoka had opened its doors only a year before, thus the decision wasn't easy at that time. The beginning was confusing, with lot of questions on my mind, in a new environment.
Even though coming with the greatest results from high school, it is sure that university offers a totally new experience. The change was not that smooth, the work load was increased and explanation of subjects was done only in English. These factors make you feel brittle, but you should always keep up the desire for the best. With the passing of days you become more secure and learn to rely on your previous knowledge. Being that since the first semesters we were taught by lecturers who obtained their PhD's in some of the best universities, it felt easy to give the subjects the right attention.
During the years Epoka offered the opportunity to engage in different extra-curricular activities, which here are structured in the form of Clubs. I gave my contribution in the Sport's club as vice-president during my second year, than the next year, together with my friends we created and run the Engineering Zone, a magazine related to engineering issues. Doing this while trying to have the best results in all the courses wasn't that easy for us, but I believe that it was totally worth it. In the same time I was part of the Student's Senate. Epoka organized two international conferences, firstly an academic one and this year a student's conference. As part of Future Engineers Club, we assisted our professors at these conferences. It was an unforgettable and above all invaluable experience.
Besides extracurricular activities, what was the most important and what directly might have some influence on our future, are the summer internships. Considering the academic level and the students' desire, Epoka offers summer internships for its students every year. After my first year I earned the chance to be part of a summer internship in Istanbul, at “Mutlu Insaat”. In the second year, I worked for five weeks at Maccaferri Balkans, here in Tirana. Last year I got an exceptional opportunity and what might be considered of giving me the shape of my near future. I was selected to have a summer internship at the University of Texas at Austin, or more precisely, at the Center for Transportation Research. These experiences may be considered as the best benchmarks for our futures.
I believe that things have their way of working themselves out, and I think that I had the chance to prove that to myself. At the beginning of this year I decided to apply for Master of Science in the Structural Engineering discipline, at some US universities. Being motivated from last years' experience, and supported from my professors I felt I could come to realize the dream I had four yeas ago. I finished my applications at the end of December, having fulfilled all the requirements, including the GRE and TOEFL exams which proved to be easy due to four years of studying in English. In March I got the so much desired result, I was accepted at the University of Texas at Austin and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Both of these universities are ranked as top five universities in the world in Structural Engineering discipline. The results and achievements of high school and undergraduate studies provided good foundations for this process. Everything I mentioned above had its influence on my admission.
The recommendations from Dr. Yetkin Yidirim, the director of Texas Pavement Preservation Center and the supervisor of my last internship, Prof. Dr. Hasan Kaplan, our previous Rector, and my advisor Dr Yavuz Yardim were of invaluable importance. Now, after being accepted, I feel also supported from the Ministry of Education of Albania, from the interest they showed and how they receipt my application for the ``Excellency Fund''.
In a few days I graduate, not only having made an excellent choice while selecting Epoka University, but also feeling the sense of pride to what this university is offering to Albania. I look forward and prepare to begin my graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. I look forward to obtain the success, which means more work to go through. I look back and see Epoka University; the work I have done here, the support of the professors, and the kindness of my friends, and what I feel is the sense of great gratitude. I am about to say 'Goodbye' to Epoka, but a `'Goodbye' which I am sure will keep repeating itself. Meanwhile, on my shoulders, I keep hearing the same refrain: ''Keep looking for what you dream, keep looking for the way of your life, if it's your aim, you will get to it.''
Rr. Tiranė-Rinas,Km. 12,Tirana, Albaniainfo@epoka.edu.al
+355 42 232 086