For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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May 17 2016
by Meg McDowell

Why I Chose To Go To A Different School Than All My Friends

By Meg McDowell - May 17 2016

After eight applications, seven acceptances, three college visits, and one college commitment, I am going to college this fall. Before the application process, I was really interested in getting out of my home state of New Jersey but, since five of the schools I applied to are in state, the odds were stacked against me.

Like most of my friends, I applied to Rutgers University because it was a safety for me. Rutgers made it all the way to my top three, but in the end, I fell in love with The College of New Jersey. They offered me opportunities that I couldn’t pass on, although it wasn’t an easy decision for me to make.

By the time Decision Day rolled around, most of my friends had already committed to Rutgers. They began to plan the next four years together: talking about what they would do, whether or not to room together, and joking about who would make the best wingman. All I can do is sit and listen to them make plans that obviously wouldn’t include me.

Comparatively, TCNJ is a lot smaller than Rutgers; while TCNJ has about 7,500 students, Rutgers is upwards of 65,000. No matter how big a school is, however, it’s easy to make a large university feel small. My friends will have each other to make the transition to do just that.

I won’t have that, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit part of me imagined college with my closest friends from high school. That same part still wishes that I could stay in my comfort zone, but I’m excited for a new beginning.

In the fall, I will be meeting new people and making new friends. When it comes to the time that some of my high school friendships begin to fade away, it won’t be as sad because they won’t be on the other side of campus as a reminder. High school friendships sometimes fade because you realize you built a friendship on the fact you saw them everyday at school.

I can make new friends without fear of alienating all the old ones. I’m happy that I’m going to a different school than most of my friends because it will give me the opportunity to see which friendships are real and which ones will last in the long run.

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Meg McDowell - The College of New Jersey

Meg McDowell will be a freshman at The College of New Jersey in the fall with a Chemistry major. She is an avid photographer and journalist. Follow her on twitter @meggiemicks and on instagram @megmcdowellphotography.

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