Ella and College Part a Million

As I was brushing my teeth this evening and trying and failing to keep toothpaste off of my nightgown, I realized that I am going to be hearing back from colleges in around twenty days. And I have to admit that I was rather amused by this. Not the fact that I’ll be faced with some major disappointments and victories and have to make a huge life decision, of course, but I’m shocked that I don’t feel concerned about it anymore.

I spent hours and hours and hours in high school freaked out about where I was going to go to school–my entire life revolved around doing the things I needed to do in order to get into the best possible school. I was that kid in fifth grade who was making lists of things I needed to accomplish and crying over grades. And even by the time that I reached senior year and calmed down, I was still obsessed. Some part of me continued to be convinced that I my entire life’s success depended upon my acceptances.

Those feelings even continued all the way through the application process this fall and winter. I was stressed and nervous all through December as I polished my essays and began doing interviews. It was nerve-wracking to know that my entire worth as a student was going to be judged by a few essays, grades, and recommendations and be done by people who had never met me. If I hadn’t kept myself so busy and scheduled, I am sure that I would have dissolved in tears at one point or another.

And yet when I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror tonight, I realized that I didn’t feel that way anymore. I wouldn’t say that I don’t care anymore–because believe me, I do–I am just not concerned about where I’m going to end up. I like all of the schools I applied to, and I’d be happy attending any of them. It’s going to be okay, no matter what happens. I’ll show up someplace in late August or early September and happily immerse myself in academia again. I’m excited to get back into the groove of school and be surrounded by motivated people my own age. What I do there matters a lot more than the school’s name.

Besides, remember when I wrote about heading down south for a long weekend? Well, I wasn’t just there for a short vacation. I was already accepted by a school in Virginia that has an amazing creative writing program, and they wanted me come down to interview for a merit scholarship. And about a week and a half ago, I got the call that I had won a full-ride! It’ll be hard to turn an offer like that down. Virginia plus saving over two hundred thousand dollars? Sign me up!

So whatever happens come the end of March and the first week of April is going to be okay. I’m even a little excited. Quite frankly, it’s kind of like waiting to open presents on Christmas morning. You don’t know who is going to give you a bright pink fleece bathrobe with hearts all over it that you will somehow not manage to grow out of (I have had this ridiculous and garish item of clothing for over ten years, and it continues to both fit and embarrass me.) and who is going to give you the book you’ve been eyeing at the bookstore for weeks. You just have to rip open the paper and plaster on a smile no matter what it turns out to be.

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2 thoughts on “Ella and College Part a Million

  1. Maybe you need to grow out of being embarrassed by the funny bathrobe!

    I remember feeling the same way when I was looking at colleges. My ‘might make it’ schools were good, my ‘will make it’ were good too. My friend’s boy who was looking into schools last year had gotten so amped up – taking classes on writing admissions, applying to 107 schools…

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