ELDERSBURG — Taylor "Tay" Jacobe has a rule for her first few weeks at Rice University in the fall: no joining clubs or organizations.
After serving as the newspaper editor-in-chief and the debate team president, participating in theater productions, taking three advanced placement classes and working part time during her senior year at Century High School, Tay said she doesn't want to throw herself into groups right away.
"I'm not that concerned about the transition, but I don't want to overbook myself," she said. However, she said she expects to be pulled into joining on-campus organizations eventually, whether it's because she is passionate about the subject area or is guilt-tripped into participating.
Tay graduated from Century Saturday with a 4.4 GPA and has taken AP courses in subject areas ranging from psychology to statistics to comparative government, the last of which she taught herself, but will enter college undecided on her major.
"I think I've spread myself too much and I don't know what I want to do with my life," she said. "I haven't picked anything yet. It's scary but I think I'll figure it out in college, hopefully."
She said that she chose Rice University because of its overall strong academics, so no matter what area she ends up in, the program will be challenging and well-rounded.
"I'm not picking a college based on a specific program, because knowing myself I'll be doing something completely different by this time next year," she said.
According to Tay's mother, her daughter has always enjoyed being busy.
"I think she tried everything," Janet Jacobe said. "We're waiting for her to find her thing."
Tay's father, James Jacobe, said that he is not surprised that she has not decided on a college major yet.
"I think that she has so many great talents that she doesn't understand what will best suit her," he said.
Added her mother: "I think that kids are pushed to decide too soon. I'm actually pleased that she's undecided."
A self-proclaimed "nerd," Tay said that she'll most likely pursue a post-graduate degree after college in whatever field she chooses.
"I love writing my debate speeches. I love writing stories for the newspaper. I love my math homework," Tay said of her interests.
Janet said that she was impressed that her daughter excelled in academics and that she describes herself as a nerd but was also homecoming queen.
"It's OK to be a nerd now," Janet said.
After visiting more than 20 colleges with her older brother, Jack, Tay said she began noticing what she did and did not like about them and creating criteria in her mind for her own college search.
"I saw a lot of schools," she said. In the end, it was her brother who insisted that she apply to Rice University despite never seeing the campus.
Janet said her son has been "very supportive" of his sister's college search. "He kept pushing Rice," she said.
Both parents said that they hope the rigorous academics stressed at Rice University will challenge their daughter and help her combine her skills to find the perfect career.
"I don't want to be doing a job that has me doing the same thing every day," Tay said. "And I want to be doing something that keeps me busy. I don't want to be sitting in my office playing computer games all the time. I want to be actually doing something."
James said his daughter is dynamic and energetic and will succeed in whatever she settles on doing.
"I'm her father, so I'm prejudiced," he said. "But if there's anyone who's going to do something in life, it's her."