Amethys Kompani, the only incoming freshman from Iran, went to Dubai three times to take the SAT, because there was no SAT testing center in her country.
“Living in Iran is not exactly the easiest way of living,” said Kompani, who will enroll in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business next fall. “I am glad that I went through it because it has shaped my personality and mindset so much. If I were to go back in time, I would choose the same path.”
Born in the United States, Kompani moved back to Iran when she was 20 days old. Kompani’s father is an engineer who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her mother studied in Iran, France and the United States. In Iran, she went to private, non-international middle school and high school in Tehran, where “everything [was] in Persian.”
Kompani said her traditional Iranian education she received from school and the western ideas she gained from her parents offered competing perspectives. “Throughout my entire childhood and high school, I had to balance what I was heard at school and what I was taught at home,” Kompani said. “I think about any issues both ways and judge for myself in the end.”
“The material they teach you in school is probably a little biased towards religion and a certain type of thinking,” Kompani added. “People usually do not develop independent points of views.
“My family is more open-minded. It has the western value, which in Iran, was not that common,” she continued. “[We are] opened to spirituality and universality.” To visit ashrams and different types of religions, Kompani travelled with her family to India six times. She also traveled “back and forth” between Iran and the United States every summer and celebrated Persian New Year with her family.
Growing up in the complex political environment in Iran also compelled Kompani to “ask a lot of questions” to get the answer that she “[needs] and [deserves].”
In her personal statement, Kompani wrote about witnessing the Green Movement during the 2009 Iranian presidential election as a 12-year-old child. During the movement, protesters who supported the independent reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi demanded to remove then-incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. Observers said the protest was the largest since the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979.
“I saw my country in this hardship, and I saw all these divisions, people with different point of views [and] not being satisfied with what they have,” she said. “I was analyzing the situation ... my country, my life, my future. I saw myself kind of responsible for doing this and doing something.”
At home, Kompani has a busy schedule between schoolwork and extracurricular activities. She complemented her “math and physics” track in high school with a range of afterschool classes in languages, music and sports. She was also on her high school’s basketball team and once played the role of a crazy woman in a theater show.
“Throughout my high school, I have classes outside of school seven days a week, sometimes twice a day,” Kompani said. She used to dance, play the piano, learn French and English from private tutors and go horseback riding on weekends. She also speaks Arabic in addition to Persian.
“I was taking tennis from 9 to 11 p.m. because that was the only time available in my schedule,” she added.
Turning 18 next month, Kompani is open to a lot of options in the future. “I actually changed my mind about my major 10 million times,” she said. Her list of considerations included psychology, engineering and business.
Kompani’s favorite motto is “We have lost wisdom for knowledge and knowledge for information”.
“Getting information nowadays is very easy,” Kompani said. “We have to go beyond information and seek knowledge and in a higher level wisdom”.