33: Reassuring Words

33: Reassuring Words

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In...To College

Reassuring Words

Choices are the hinges of destiny.


Like most of my friends, I started to really think about college the summer before my junior year. Unlike most of my friends, I knew what kind of college I was looking for. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to attend a small school with a strong Liberal Arts and Sciences program. At crowded family gatherings, I would constantly repeat my formula for the future to every aunt, uncle, or cousin who asked or was willing to listen.

As junior year got into full swing, a school organized college tour was slowly being planned. Many schools I was interested in were on the tour and I was excited to finally visit the places I had read so much about.

The trip itself was not the epitome of luxury. Eight people to a seven-person van and an all-inclusive roadside motel package allowed us to focus on the schools, not the lavishness of our rooms. But none of this mattered. Because I knew that on that trip I would find where I was going to go to college.

On the tour, we visited two to three schools every day, and every day I felt as though I had been smacked across the face. None of the schools I loved on paper, with their small class sizes and world-renowned English programs, were places where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life.

To put it mildly, I was crushed. After all, I already had my whole college future planned out, I just needed to pick a school, but then, in one weekend, it all came crashing down and I felt as though I was trapped in a cocoon of confusion. I spent the next week of school in a sort of daze, as though everything around me was in a thick layer of fog. All I could think, or worry, about was college.

One night that week, my dad was talking to my uncle on the phone while I was quietly contemplating my disaster of a future. “Max, Uncle Dave wants to talk to you,” said my Dad. The conversation with my uncle started with talk of my baseball season, but soon drifted towards the looming topic of college. As I spoke, my uncle must have been able to hear the dissatisfaction in my voice. I stumbled over my words, trying to explain how none of the schools I had been looking at felt right for me. “No matter where you go, it’s the right choice,” he said, rather abruptly. As the conversation wandered back to baseball, my mind stuck to that one sentence and I felt as though a tremendous weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

As the college process got more and more strenuous as junior year ended and senior year arrived, I would always think of what my uncle said. “No matter where you go it’s the right choice.” When I got my first denial letter, made my final decision, and then second-guessed that decision, his voice came to my mind and I knew no matter where I went to college everything would work out just fine.

~Maxwell Schulz

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