66: Making My Decision

66: Making My Decision

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

Making My Decision

The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.

~Norman Vincent Peale

I never used to believe the saying, “everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be,” in terms of college. It was hard for me to understand, even though I am an optimist. My mind was completely altered, however, when it came time to make my own college decision.

I was always known as “the college girl” among my friends, family, and classmates. I recall perusing www.harvard.edu in the sixth grade, but as I grew older I became more realistic. I read Fiske and US News & World Report guidebooks for fun and found schools that better fit my student profile. Once I entered high school, the pressure was hard to ignore; society tells you that not only must you attend college, but a “good” college. In time I realized that “good” should not be defined as a high-ranking institution, but a “good” fit for you as an individual.

I went through many facets of the college process: I hopped around from preferring city campuses to isolated campuses, Boston to New York City, and journalism to political science majors. I would instantly fall in love, put all of my efforts into one university, and then change my mind. There was one school, however, that always remained consistent on my list of colleges. I loved it since my middle school years, and could always see myself going there. It was easy to forget about, however, when I was caught up in the moment at another university.

My senior fall was quickly approaching and teacher recommendations, activity lists, and college essays consumed my life. It was definitely the most overwhelming experience I have lived through yet, and I do not miss the days of headaches, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. With relief that it is all now over, I sympathize for the kids behind me, for I do not see this process becoming any easier.

With November came early action deadlines, and December was then accompanied by depression. Not only was I deferred from every single school I applied to, but one of them was my current favorite. Nothing can describe the feeling of being denied a chance where you think you belong; I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

With a broken heart, I did what I could to convince their admissions staff I was capable of success at their school. Months passed by, with letters from my safety schools—all good news. I reminded myself that my life would not be over and that I was college-bound. It was hard to forget, however, where my true enthusiasm was focused.

The next significant letter I received from an institution of higher learning was a rejection via e-mail—and many more followed. By April 1st, I had heard from all my colleges, and had not fared as well as I had hoped. I was rejected from all of my reaches and targets, except for two.

However, there was a catch. After being deferred early action and anxiously waiting for months to hear back, I was finally admitted to my “dream school” — for the spring semester. My reaction was still positive because I had achieved my yearlong goal. Initially there was not a question in my mind; that was where I was going to matriculate.

I went up to Boston with my parents for the day to visit, and we were impressed with the school’s facilities, academics, and especially their Broadway-styled theater. I already had all of my courses picked out—none of which was mathematics, which to me would only happen in an ideal world.

There were little things, however, that started appearing on my radar. The campus is about two city blocks large; therefore it is easy to overlook the fact that you are on a college campus, I read an advertisement in the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts that stated they gave away free iced coffee whenever the Red Sox won — I’m a Yankee fan for crying out loud, and it bothered me that I did not feel comfortable. Later on that same afternoon, my parents excitedly talked up the school over lunch, but I could not get excited. I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, and questioned whether or not this was really where I belonged.

I then made the decision to visit Syracuse University. The drive upstate occurred in the middle of the night, and the first thing I laid my eyes on was the back of the campus, Crouse Hall specifically. The beautiful architecture of the traditional, Gothic building sent me a message along the lines of “we are a legitimate college, and we take education seriously.” That was the moment that I knew.

I was forced to wake up early to attend admitted students seminars and other activities, and was thoroughly impressed with all of the day’s events: a lecture from the Dean, clubs/activities fair, and lunch inside the Carrier Dome. I felt very comfortable walking around Syracuse on this beautiful April day — granted there will normally be a lot more snow — and could easily see myself making friends, joining “The Daily Orange,” and succeeding academically. I finally discovered what it meant to find a college and be happy.

My initial reaction to my acceptance to Syracuse University was much greater than any other institution. The novelty wore off as I analyzed my options and realized there were a handful of characteristics I did not find appealing. But with that said, when I visited the school for my third and final time before making my decision, all of those components no longer mattered. I had “the feeling,” and knew it was where I belonged.

It was hard to let go of the fantasy of attending my other option, especially after an entire year of being teased by deferrals and spring admission. But as much as I wanted to want it, I did not. This phase passed as did the others, and I sent in my deposit to the place that had been best all along—Syracuse University. I figured out that it was the better choice for me, regardless of past dreams.

I am now an advocate of believing everyone ends up where they are supposed to be, because despite all of my rejections, I am now officially a member of Syracuse University’s class of 2012.

~Krystie Lee Yandoli

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