It's that time of the year again when admissions decisions are in full swing and my news feed is suddenly filed with an influx of status updates from proud high school seniors proclaiming acceptance to their colleges of choice. Watching their excessive use of caps lock and exclamation points in excitement got me thinking of my own journey through the college admissions process and my eventual decision to attend IU. So here's a little story that'll answer the question for many people... how a born and raised Californian ended up in Bloomington, Indiana for college.
As a young, naive high school senior who thought that I knew everything, I figured it was time to pack my bags and head on out. My home state was cool and all... but I wanted to start fresh. I wanted to explore uncharted territories, find out more about myself, and go to a place where I knew absolutely no one.
I told my parents I wanted to go out-of-state for college. They weren't thrilled, but they let me apply to a majority of schools out-of-state. I applied all over the country. No region of the country was safe from an application to one of their institutions of higher education from me. The acceptances began pouring in. My first acceptance was from Indiana University.
I didn't know much about IU, except for the fact that their colors were red and white (at the time, I was well unaware that the politically correct school colors were cream and crimson) and they were good at basketball... or at least they used to be.
But something about this Midwestern college intrigued me. It had seemingly everything I was looking for. Large student body? Check. (I didn't want to go to a small school where I'd constantly be running into the same people. I figured that was too much like high school, and that would be no fun). Strong journalism school? Most definitely so. Numerous opportunities for involvement? On a campus of more than 40,000, I was positive that there would be no shortage of ways to get involved. Beautiful campus? Photographs of the arboretum, charming old parts of campus, and the Sample Gates enticed me. It seemed too good to be true. There were other pluses as well, from the Division I athletics (I love me some college football on Saturdays), to the positive press that the University always receives as home to an extremely friendly and welcoming student body.
Then it came time to visit schools. I visited a good portion of the schools I got accepted to. They were cool and all, but then I visited IU. The moment I stepped off the shuttle into the IMU, it was love at first site. Everything from students playing Frisbee outside Wright quad to the site of students napping in the south lounge of the IMU just made me want to attend school here even more. The other schools I visited were great, but they just lacked the extra something that IU had for me.
My parents weren't happy when I told them how much I liked IU. I think they just let me visit so that I could get it out of my system and hopefully choose somewhere closer to attend school. But it was too late. I was sold. No other school elicited the same amount of excitement as IU did for me every time I imagined where I was going next year because I could see myself at IU. That was the most important part of all. I could easily see myself studying in the arboretum on a sunny day, strolling down Kirkwood with my friends, and cheering on the Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium.They say that you know deep down when you have found the right college for you. And I knew that this was a feeling I couldn't ignore.
After much convincing (the two-paged single-spaced letter I wrote my parents telling them why IU was the perfect school for me must have done it), the enrollment deposit was sent. And I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into... all I could do now was wait for August.
The events that proceeded to occur over my freshman year both exceeded and failed to meet my every expectation regarding college life. And that's why I can safely say I had the greatest year ever.
Stay tuned next week to get a glimpse into the absolutely crazy roller coaster ride that was my freshman year.