COVINGTON - Eastside High School's 2009 salutatorian Ariel VanLeuven can't wait for the next phase of her life to begin.
After she graduates in May, she'll be one step closer to experiencing a different lifestyle than she can find in Covington. VanLeuven, 18, is headed to the University of Georgia.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing Athens life," said VanLeuven, daughter of Dave and Joanne VanLeuven of Covington. "I want to go to concerts, and I'm really interested in experiencing college classes at UGA."
She said she's looking forward to taking large classes and learning about unique subjects - something not found in high school.
While at UGA, she plans to study genetics or premedicine.
"I think it would be awesome to work for the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or become a medical doctor," said VanLeuven, who enjoys chemistry and human anatomy. "I think science is an important and growing field. There will always be a need for doctors and research."
She realizes college life isn't just about fun, and said she's prepared to work hard to accomplish her goals by using skills she learned in high school.
"It's a combination of hard work and paying attention," she said. "That is a really huge aspect (of doing well in school), as well as dedication."
Before she heads off to Athens for orientation and the start of fall classes, she plans to spend time with her friends - some of whom also will attend UGA.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.