I'm the first person to admit that my high school years were the worst of my life. Yes, I was a popular kid and had tons of friends but I wasn't in a good place mentally. I absolutely hated school. I skipped classes often and when I did go, I was miserable. Things got even worse when I got injured and couldn't play the sports I loved. This lead to me working 40 hour weeks just to distract myself from my school work. And when I started getting sick towards the end of my senior year, I hit rock bottom. I was getting sick every day and was pissed at the world. I was ready to take a gap year between graduation and college but I'm so glad I didn't.
Fast forward to eight days before my first day of college, I had stomach surgery. All the problems that had ruined my senior year and summer were about to be solved but it left the start of college in jeopardy. I remember making a deal with God telling him that if he gave me this chance I wouldn't waste it. I was going to turn my life around.
After much blood, sweat, and tears, I stayed enrolled in the semester at UW-River Falls. It should have been impossible but somehow I did it. Now, I have to admit that UWRF was not where I pictured myself. Despite my hatred for school, my grades were good and I had always dreamed of going to the University of Minnesota. Obviously, that wasn't meant to be and I am so glad that it didn't work out the way I once wanted it to.
I fell in love with my education more than I could ever have dreamed of. Never before had I looked forward to going to class. Never before had I had perfect attendance. Never before had I been fully invested in a course. Never before had I understood that hard work isn't hard if you love what you're doing. Never before had I experienced the excitement of knocking an exam out of the park. Never before had I been in love with every breath I took.
I guess the moral of this story is that you'll know you found the right college when you want to be the best. When you're motivated to be the greatest without anyone asking you to. You'll know when you look forward to every single day. You will know you're at the right college when over breaks, you look forward to going back.
You'll know you're at the right college when your professors believe in you more than you believe in yourself. You're at the right college when you find an advisor that you can't picture life without. You know you're at the right college when you admire every single one of your professors.
They're right when they say "you'll find your people at college," but what they don't mention is that you're going to find yourself too and that's the most beautiful thing in the world.