Is that a long enough title for ya? It pretty much sums up my indecisiveness…scratch that, my cluelessness when it comes to what I want in a school. Well that may be selling myself short, maybe I have some idea, but regardless! …I’m pretty much lost.
The question I am, understandably, getting asked a lot, primarily by adults, is, “So, do you know where you’re going to school yet?”
Then they ask, “Well, you still got time! Where are you looking?”
Everywhere, pretty much.
Next it’s, “Oh wow, do you think you’d go to the East coast?”
Yeah I think so, I mean maybe if I find a school I really love.
“Nice. Well do you know what you want to study?”
Not really, I’m interested in a lot of things.
“Well you know it’s okay to not know yet, you’re gonna change your mind anyways.”
Yup! That’s what I predict is going to happen.
“Well good luck! I’m sure you’ll be fine”
I hope so! Thank you!
I mean that may not be exactly what happens every time but that’s pretty much the jist of it. After having these conversations, sometimes with friends sometimes with strangers, I always feel very guilty to tell you the truth. I mean how disappointing to ask a young person all these simple questions about this exciting, transitional period of their life and then to get no concrete answers! I actually do feel really bad to give a person expressing interest in my life no real response. And, to add to this guilt, these encounters simply remind me of how I have no direction in my life! Which I recognize sounds really sad, but it’s true!
The thing that frustrates me the most about trying to find my Perfect School is that I can barely cross schools off of my list of possibilities!
I’m pretty sure that I don’t want a reeaalllllyyy small school, for fear of it feeling too similar to high school, but I’m still open to the relatively small ones. I really like the thought of having intimate classroom discussion, and individual attention from professors, and getting to know a lot of people, and feeling like I’m part of a community. On the other (bad) hand, I’m still fearful of a relatively small sized school feeling, socially, like high school. I don’t want to be bored and I’m scared that would happen. I know that I’d never know everyone that goes there, but the thought of seeing new faces everyday really excites me!
I also don’t think I want a GIGANTIC school either. I don’t want to feel lost and completely unknown.Having some big classes doesn’t sound bad to me though; for some subjects I actually think it could be more beneficial for me than small classes. I want some of my teachers to at least sort of know me and I want to be able to say “hi” to at least one person while walking from point A to point B. What does appeal to me though is that I expect a large environment to mirror the real world a bit more accurately than a small school with a brick gate enclosing its students into acres of perfectly manicured grass. …But maybe I do want that protection a smaller school offers! Maybe a stronger feeling of home than at a large campus? But what do I know!? Clearly, not too much.
And so, because I like certain aspects of both large and small campuses, I am led to believe that medium sized schools are perfect for me. And maybe now you’re thinking, “Yipee! She does know what she wants! Woohoo!” But stop right there mister. Yes, I do, currently, believe that a medium sized school would be the best thing for me–however, the problem is there aren’t that many eligible ones out there! From what I’ve experienced, it’s the hardest size school to find. I’ll be looking at a school, and it sounds perfect in every way except for the fact that it’s twice as big as I would like…or way too small.
So, I’ve decided to not just disregard a school as a possible option because of its size. How do I know if I actually want a big, medium, or small school? I’ve never been to college and I won’t till I’m there! So maybe size shouldn’t get in the way of what I think to be a great school in every other way–maybe it’s only a small factor in the whole equation! Or then again, maybe it will make or break my experience somewhere. It’s a never ending struggle and it freaks me out.
I am pretty sure that I want to go somewhere with rigorous academics and with hard-working students like myself. However, I don’t want to be the lowest of the low, because that would be depressing. Ideally, I want to be with students that are above me and motivate me to do better, but also ones that are equal to me so I don’t feel alone. I know a lot of people say that they don’t want to have to work hard in college, but I do! I want to feel challenged academically; I don’t think it should feel like a $50 grand vacation. But maybe state schools like Oregon and Washington, which I loved, could still be a good fit for me even though not everyone there is the Top Student. I mean they have the programs I want, great campuses, and big enough student bodies to mean there must be other nerds out there! I mean I have no doubt that there are really genius kids at every school. Just because a school is relatively easy to get into doesn’t mean they don’t have really great academics. I bet the atmosphere is less cut throat and competitive at such places, which sounds quite lovely. I’ve decided that even though I loved Princeton I’m still not going to apply there because I don’t think that Ivy atmosphere would be good for me (like I have any say in the matter, HA!). I don’t know why but it’s just so difficult for me to know what type of school, academically, will be best for me…rawr.
Anybody up for a little talk about geography? Yeah you do! I’m certain that I don’t want to go to school in LA, so at least something’s decided! But staying close-ish to home still sounds really appealing to me. I looked in San Diego and didn’t find anything there I especially liked. I’ve been to UC Irvine and Riverside and I know I don’t want to go there either– too boring. However, I really like Cal Poly San Luis and I LOVE downtown San Luis. It’s close to home but a good close to home I think. The drive from here to there is absolutely gorgeous and super easy. I love the thought of getting to come home on the weekends whenever I want to. But don’t be fooled, I am not restricting myself to staying in California or driving distance from home–I’m pretty much open to anywhere. I would like to be near or in a city though and somewhere relatively safe. Weather isn’t a main focus of mine but since I’ve been treated to 364 days of sunshine every year, I think I’d like something new.
And now, a very brief statement regarding politics: I don’t necessarily have to be in a blue state or anything, but I would prefer to be somewhere relatively liberal.
Also, whether or not the school is religious makes no difference for me. I think it’s nice to have the presence of faith, even though I’m not religious, on a campus. The thing that does scare me though about religious schools is that there’s a higher chance of homogeneity. Which is the other thing I really don’t want. I really appreciate diversity: racially, ethnically, politically, religiously. It means a lot for me to not feel like everyone else around me. I want college to challenge me, not only academically, but culturally as well.
The other thing, other than diversity, that I’m sure about is that I don’t want to go to a party school. It’s not at all who I am and I really cannot be in an environment that focuses on that stuff. I’m not saying that I want to find a school without any drinking or parties, because that’s pretty much impossible, I just don’t want to go somewhere where all of that is very important.
Something else that’s important to me is school spirit. I want to be somewhere where the students are excited to go. I’d really like to have good athletics but I wouldn’t say it’s a must when it comes to choosing a school for me–it would just be nice! Also, I want to be part of an active and caring student body. I want to be around other kids who are concerned about the environment, human rights, and the injustices of the world. I mean I’m not crazy when it comes to that stuff, but I do care and I’d like to be around other people who do as well.
So that’s all folks! That’s what I’m looking and not looking for. As you can see, I’m decided about very little and clueless about a whoooooole lot. I definitely don’t have a cookie-cutter mold for the Perfect College, and that’s why choosing is so hard for me! But you know what? “Indecisive” is too harsh; I think what we should call it is “open-minded!” Yes, that’s it–I’m open-minded!
That being said, I still have a feeling it’s going to be a tough choice for me up until Move-In-Day 2014…