January 5, 2018
The clock turned past 11 and I suddenly felt a strong punch to the gut. The adrenaline began to kick in, along with a strong feeling of angst and trepidation. I quickly zoned out every distraction around me and focused solely on the blank screen in front of me.
Each passing second in that final hour felt like being trapped in a room that got smaller and smaller. I typed and typed, pushing the limits of what could be written in a mere 60 minutes. With only a couple of minutes before the midnight deadline, I finished the final essay of my last college application. I hurried through the tabs and final requirements for the application as the clock wound down to 12. Finally, with a strong sigh of relief and seconds to spare before the deadline, I was officially finished.
I submitted my last college application exactly one year ago. I perfectly remember the feeling. I was happy and relieved to have finally finished that stressful experience, yet scared and nervous of what the future would hold. I can imagine many of you feeling this way too around this time of the year. What if I don’t get in? What if I can’t pay for college? What if I don’t like the place I end up going to?
At that time, I had my mind firmly set on one university, and I could clearly imagine myself attending there. After months, I was notified I was placed on the waitlist. The extra amount of waiting filled me with an equal amount of hope and anxiety. Fast-forward two months, I received the answer I was too afraid to accept: no. I was devastated. Knowing that I wouldn’t be a student in the college of my dreams disappointed me tremendously. The strongest feeling I had was that of regret for not giving it my all. I knew I would be happy at Notre Dame, but I could not get myself to accept this new reality.
I realized late into last semester that I wanted to attend that university for the wrong reasons. Having spent an entire semester at ND, I am sure I cannot be happier anywhere else. I began to appreciate more the opportunities I have there. I promised myself to now truly try my best in achieving my goals. I came to the realization that college is what you make of it. You can have the same opportunities in one place as another, but maybe you just have to look harder. I understand that if you don’t study in the place you deem as perfect you’ll feel the same way as I did. Just don’t let it rule over you, especially months into your college experience. Simply make the best out of the situation you are in.
Reflecting on my experience and the lessons I learned, I feel like it’s important to remember that at the end, everything will be alright. You will attend a place where you will be happy, as long as you allow yourself. College is truly what you make of it. Who knows, at the end of the day the university you least expected to attend could be a blessing in disguise. Thus, as you anxiously await final decisions, enjoy your final semester in high school and know that everything will be okay.