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My College Dreams Didn't Go As Planned, But It Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

My college plans went awry and it was the best thing that could've happened to me.

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My College Dreams Didn't Go As Planned, But It Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me
Whitni Duffey

First things first, I always wanted to go at least two hours away for college. I looked at schools on the coast. I looked at schools in the mountains. I even looked at schools in Virginia and South Carolina. I was convinced that I was going to be far away from home starting in August of 2017. That was it for me.

I've had that plan for as long as I can remember. I actually told my third-grade teacher that I was going to go to Harvard. For me, college meant independence, and independence meant being away from my parents. I've learned in the time since then that, that isn't true, but no one could convince me otherwise back then. I've always been so obsessed with the idea of being independent. That's why when my mom mentioned touring a college that is a little bit under an hour away, I had no interest.

The college she encouraged me to tour was the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It's about a 45-minute drive depending on the traffic on I-40 and only half the distance I was planning on going. If you looked at the title of the article you might be able to tell where this story is going, but needless to say, I finally went to tour the college. Much to my surprise, I fell in love. I was told that picking a college is a lot like picking a spouse, "when you know, you know." Believe me, I knew that I knew and I hated it. I chose the closest four-year university possible.

Looking back at it now, I laugh. It would be my luck to end up less than an hour away from home and doing the opposite of what I had planned. Let me tell you, this was the best thing to happen to me. I have an awesome major. I'm in some great organizations and I've made some amazing friends. Plus, I can still be as independent as I want to be.

I'm a firm believer that it's not just picking a school. It's picking a home away from home. Go where you're led and you'll be happy with your decision regardless of distance. Besides, independence and happiness are not measured in miles. I'm nineteen and live closer to home than any of my high school friends, but that does not mean that I am not as independent as them. I still hang out with my friends, stay up too late sometimes, and live with roommates, but the difference is my parents are close enough to bring me medicine and a milkshake from Sonic if I get a cold. (Hey, I'm still working on the full independence thing.)

Look at places you wouldn't normally look. Go where you feel called to. Try new things. It's OK to say "I was wrong." In the end, it'll all be worth it.

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