It’s that time of year again, if you’re part of the Class of 2017, then you know exactly what time I’m talking about— it’s time to make some decisions.
Even though I have two and a half weeks left in my second quarter of freshman year, I remember the stress of college decisions and acceptances like it was yesterday. There were so many questions running around in my head: what am I going to major in, how far is too far, what if I don’t get in, why did I get rejected, how do I decide… As much fun as senior year holds, these decisions have a way of consuming everything you do for the few weeks you find yourself unsure about where to go or what to do. In hindsight, it was all a bit simpler than I could have possibly seen, I mean I’m in college aren’t I? The most important thing you need to know:
You will end up right where you need to be.
I know it sounds cliche, but the point is, there are always more options. This is a big month for most of you and there are a lot of college acceptance decisions coming out within the next few weeks. While some of you know where you’re headed, some of you don’t.
Just know this— that’s okay.
Last year, two hours before I needed to submit my decision of intent for one college, I was sitting in my room with a list of four colleges, their pros and cons, and a coin in my hand. I took one look at Nick and I asked him, “Heads or tails?” After a lot of back and forth, I finally settled on Howard University in DC and Nick chose Purdue University in Indiana (currently waitlisted by Cal Poly).
Did you notice that neither of us ended up at either of those schools?
If there was one thing I wish I knew, it would be that there are so many ways for your circumstances to turn out the way they need to be. I thought I would be at Howard University, with about two months left of school to go. Instead I am here at Cal Poly with Nick, on the other side of the country from where I was going to be, and now we have three months left to go with finals in two weeks. That’s the crazy fact about college and our futures, it’s always going to change.
I think one of the main concepts I was worried about when getting into college was not feeling like I chose the right school, or finding myself stuck in a position I couldn’t get out of. Committing to a school felt like I was etching my future into stone— once I made that decision, I couldn’t change it.
I was wrong.
Because right now, I am changing my major. A month before I was supposed to start at Howard, I changed my college. Don’t underestimate the power of an appeal, or a waitlist. If you really want something, do everything in your power to make it happen. The decisions you make now have the potential to impact a lot, but no matter what you choose, believe in the choice you make. Last year, I wish I remembered to congratulate myself for choosing to pursue more education in a future I wanted. As long as you’re going after success and happiness in the future (whether you’re going to college or pursuing another path), you cannot ask any more of yourself. So be proud of it.
A key point about choosing your college, pay attention to the people you’re about to surround yourself with for the next four years. I’ll be completely honest, I was not prepared for the lack of diversity at this school. Would that have changed my decision? I have no idea, but I’ve made a handful of wonderful friends that have made all the difference in my freshman year so far. When you toured colleges, maybe you paid attention to the campus hills and the dining options, but don’t forget about the people. They can make a pretty big difference.
Are you going to want to wake up on that campus every day to go to class?
Can you handle being surrounded by the demographics and the attitudes of the people around you?
Just make sure that you’re asking the hard questions, considering anything and everything you can about both opportunity and what it’ll be like to live there. This is your future, a bright one, and this decision is completely yours to make.
No matter what you end up doing, just remember that you deserve to be proud of yourself. You’ve made it through 4 years of high school, you’re graduating in two months… This is a time to get excited about your future. You’ve done the work, you are everything you need to be.
Choose your school wisely, but take a moment to look around at where you want to be for the next four years. Here’s to an amazing journey coming to an end just for another one to start, why not make it count?
I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in all the decisions you’re about to make, you’ve got 2 months left of high school. Trust me, it all goes by pretty quickly.