When I chose to go to Pace University, a private school, it had nothing to do with the fact that it was a private institution. That little factor didn’t mean much to me in the beginning, but it means everything to me now.
When I was applying to the CUNYs, I wasn’t worried or nervous about getting into any of them, because I was sure I would. They seemed like easy, simple schools. I had pretty much everything they were looking for - volunteer hours, extracurricular activities, honor roll students, College Now students (meaning I took college courses while I was still in high school from CUNY schools), and of course, the good enough average needed.
When I was applying to Pace, however, I was super nervous (I didn’t know they had a high acceptance rate as well at the time), because I thought since it was a private school, it would be more picky and choosy over who they wanted at their school. But, I applied anyway, because I liked what they had to offer and I believed in myself when I thought of succeeding there.
These are the factors that went into choosing colleges to apply to:
- It was located in NYC.
- It wasn’t too far into the city.
- I was good enough for it — meaning I had the GPA, credits, etc. that is required.
And that was pretty much it. I had applied to mostly CUNY schools and a few SUNYs that I knew I wouldn’t really go to, but just applied to see if I could get in — which I did.
Now, I ran into a problem around January or February. I had my heart set on Baruch College, a CUNY located in the city. It was known to be a very good choice for business students. I was ALL set on going to Baruch- until I found out they had rejected me. I felt TERRIBLE about it because I was 100% sure I was going to get in and it was so shocking to find out that they didn’t want me.
A little while later, I came across Pace University. One of my close friends had applied and gotten accepted into it, so I looked it up and it looked like a great school, it matched well with my little checklist. So, I applied. I was scared I wouldn’t get in, because I was applying so late into the year. And so, when I was selected, I was genuinely surprised and so, so happy.
And sure, going to a private institution wasn’t the easiest — it definitely wasn’t easy trying to convince my parents and especially since no one believed that I could succeed there and told me not to go. Despite being given tons of financial aid and recently receiving a donation from an alumni and donor, I still have to pay more than I can afford every semester and have a two-hour commute with three different forms of transportation can be really hard to deal with sometimes, but I’ve been able to make it work and being a student at Pace has provided me with so much. It’s really changed me as a person and it made me realize something very important. It made me realize how strong I really am and how resilient I can be.
Just recently, a new bill was passed that allows for almost all college students going to CUNY schools to go to school for free — completely free — with, of course, a few extra conditions. I could transfer to a CUNY and potentially go to school for free, but am I going to? No. My younger sister got into Hunter College and she doesn’t have to pay a single dime, (in fact, she actually got money back from the school; money to pay for her textbooks and for transportation) not because of the new bill, but because the tuition rate is only about $6,000 and she got enough financial aid to foot the whole bill and then some. I could transfer over to Hunter, go to school with her, also for free, but am I going to? Nope again.
I probably sound insane, but I have a very good reason for sticking to my private institution. I choose to stay at Pace because it challenges me. If I had gone to the local college in Staten Island like a lot of people do or any of the other CUNYs I had gotten into super easily, I wouldn’t have been as challenged to stick with it all the way. I wouldn’t push myself to attend every class or actually work for my grade instead of watching Netflix all day and then look up the answers to the homework (though I’m not going to lie, I don’t totally do this, either). Yes, I could go to a CUNY and basically go to school for free, but what would be the point of that?
College is all about preparing you for the real, adult world, right? That’s what everyone says — high school teachers, college professors, your parents, your older friends. And what adult really has it all laid out for them? Life is hard and you’ve got to be strong enough to handle all its blows. If I took the easy route, I might’ve struggled to get going once I was all done with college and just thrown out into the real world all alone. The more I struggle and push and challenge myself in college, the stronger and prepared I’ll be when I’m thrust out and expected to fend for myself.
I fought for Pace, I fought to be a student there. I wake up every day four hours before my class starts, I take out loans that make me cringe every time I see the interest rate, I make 3+ backup schedules to get the best classes before they’re all taken so I’m not stuck taking a night class and getting home near midnight or a super early class that has me up and out of the house while the moon is still out, and I still try to squeeze in extra volunteering, community service, extracurricular activities, clubs, meetings, and lunch dates with my friends into my busy days, because I know how to work for what I want and I know how to handle it when I get it.
Sometimes, I feel like it was my fate or destiny to attend Pace, because as it turns out, I, later on, realized that business was kind of boring and not what I wanted to get into. If I had gone to Baruch, I might have realized that and then not be able to get out of it, but at Pace, I was able to major in Business Undecided and then later, with the help of my awesome freshman advisor, who I still go to even though I’m no longer a freshman, and Pace’s great, super-detailed major list, I was able to find at least three different majors I was interested in and could potentially have a career in. It’s still in the business section, but it’s still a great field to be in.
I’m happy at my private institution and I look forward to each day, month, semester, and year I have left there.