When I was younger, I was always told that I would make it into some big, fancy college. Harvard and Yale were always thrown in as my top two choices. I had higher hopes and dreams back then. Fast forward 10 years later, and I'm staring at a computer screen. In the last few years, I didn't apply to Yale or Harvard but instead set my eyes on schools in my residency state, North Carolina. I was mainly stuck between two choices, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). I applied for early decision to both and had received my acceptance to Wilmington. Yet on that January night, my mind became blank. UNC deferred my decision, meaning that they put their decision on hold until regular decisions came out. My phone filled with texts from my friends how they got in, yet I still had no idea. Needless to say, I was upset.
The next few days consisted of me slumping around with a swirl of questions in my head. Why wasn't I picked? Why couldn't they make a decision already? What held them back? I was excited for my friends who got accepted, of course, but at the same time, I felt alone. I questioned my own choices throughout high school. Maybe I should have joined another club or spent more time volunteering. It honestly felt like torture.
I soon began to fill up the time that I wasn't stressing out with classes, extracurriculars and work by once again researching UNCW. I slowly began to remember why I loved it in the first place. It was my original first choice. I was back on campus touring the college in my junior year of high school and was amazed by the scenery and felt that strange feeling that it was somewhere I belonged. The small campus made me feel less anxious about being lost in a crowd. And as I once again revisited those feelings and felt myself explore small programs, majors and community involvement, I knew I was officially gone.
UNC was the third school I visited and the only one that was in session when I did. I was in wonder seeing actual college students being college students. I loved the campus look as well. It's an amazing school, but I feel I fell for the name and opportunities more than the school, itself. Looking back, I see that I would have been lost there, drowned in the large sea of kids that the school houses and feeling the pressures of college 10 times over.
I turned in my enrollment deposit for UNCW the minute I discovered I was waitlisted for UNC. I honestly felt a wave of relief and excitement. UNC wasn't the one for me as of now. That deferment gave me a chance to look back and smell the roses. Maybe one day I'll change my mind. But for now, I'm just patiently waiting to move in and start my freshman year.
Lead Image Credit: Rob Bye via Unsplash