There are some instances in life when you should take risks, and some when you should play it safe, and Carolina Williams proves that college applications are one of those times where rolling the dice can really pay off.
Williams took a chance by writing about pizza for her Yale application essay, and it got her into the Ivy League school. When her writing went viral, Williams earned the title “Pizza Girl” from her peers and wears the monicker with honor. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Williams over the phone and find out more about her upcoming college career, her online store and plans after graduation.
Danielle Keating: Okay, let’s get this question out of the way. What gave you the idea to write about pizza for a Yale application?
Carolina Williams: The prompt was really simple, it just asked me to write about what I love to do, and I love ordering pizza; everyone knows that about me. At first, I thought I thought, “Oh, well maybe that’s not a good topic,” but I thought I’d just go with it because I thought it would be funny, and I like to think of myself as a funny person.
DK: It is, and you are. How did you react when you found out that Yale accepted you?
CW: So shocked because I literally didn’t think I’d get in at all; it was the only Ivy school I applied to. When I got the acceptance letter and the bulldog chant started playing from my computer, I thought it was a joke and didn’t believe it. I thought some ad came up; it was so surreal.
DK: So, do you enjoy having the reputation of being the girl who got accepted into Yale for her essay about pizza? Why or why not?
CW: Absolutely, 100 percent yes. I totally accept and love that people know me as “Pizza Girl.” I absolutely love that title, and I wear it with pride.
DK: As you should! Even though you got into Yale, you still chose to go to Auburn University. What influenced that decision?
CW: The summer before senior year I only applied to four colleges: Sanford in Alabama, Yale, Washington University in St. Louis and Auburn. I could see myself at all of those schools. I found out that I got accepted into Auburn way before Yale; I was so blessed and so excited about being admitted to an Ivy League school, but I wasn’t any less excited about being accepted into Auburn. I went into Yale with an open mind, and again I love it, but I love Auburn because the school felt like such a family. I didn’t change my mind because I hadn’t made up my mind; I just decided what I wanted at the last minute.
DK: Do you ever wish that you had gone to Yale?
CW: Definitely not, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s obviously a great fit for some people. I toured some other Ivies, but I knew Auburn was the place for me. I’m moving in a week from today, and I could not be more excited to go there.
DK: Awesome, that’s coming up! What’s your major and why did you choose it?
CW: Right now, I’m on a pre-Business track; you commit to a major during sophomore year. Business Economics and Entrepreneurship really fascinate me; I really love how much freedom and creativity you can bring into a business, so that’s how I knew that’s what I wanted to study.
DK: So, what major will you commit to?
CW: Business Analytics and I’m probably going to do an Economics minor, as well.
DK: Nice! You also have a side business on Society6.com, Carolina Designs. Is it difficult to run your store and keep up your grades?
CW: Oh no, I just started that this summer because I’ve always loved to draw and be creative. I got the idea when I went dorm shopping, so I just thought that I’d put it on the site. The business is just something I enjoy doing in my free time.
DK: What can you tell me about the future of Carolina Williams designs?
CW: Oh yeah, well I just enjoy being creative, writing and drawing; it’s been my passion since I was little. I took art in high school and have been drawing my entire life. I might try to grow the business, and I might want to try to write a book someday.
DK: Cool! What would this book be about?
CW: Honestly, I’ve read so many different books; I’d love to write a fiction novel, and I’ve written short stories before. Maybe I’d try writing a collection of essays, like a memoir, and discuss details about my life. Other people’s stories inspire me so much; honestly, I’d love to do that someday, but probably later on when I’m more experienced.
DK: And speaking of the future, I know every student hates this question, but what are your plans after graduation?
CW: Oh, um I’m not sure yet. Depends on the internships I get. Papa John’s offered me an internship for next summer; I was very grateful for that. Someday I may start my own business; I don’t know what that would be yet, and honestly, I’d love to be a CEO someday. Also, I’ll probably go to grad school to get an MBA, but I’m not sure yet.