Two years ago, I applied to Temple University. At the time, I didn't think much of sending in the application, just that another option in case my dream school did not work out. However, applying to Temple is among one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Yet, I had a lot of people that doubted me, which includes my own high school guidance counselor.
My high school administration made us turn in acceptance letters to universities to print on the back of the Senior Recognition programs, but also for bragging rights most likely. Handing in these letters gave us access to sign college tee shirts posted all over the guidance office, and was a visual stamp of approval from the high school that they did something right.
The last person who went to Temple University before me was back in 2008. I don't know the kid. I don't know their major. However, I do know that they managed to do something extraordinary and left the area.
It might be just a Western Pennsylvania thing, but it seems like nobody leaves. Everyone stays a relatively 90-mile radius from our little hometown. Those who do dare to venture out of city limits seem to come back home within the year. My guidance counselor told me I was going to end up the same.
When I turned in my acceptance letter to Temple, I remember the secretary giving me a funny look. "Wow, this is your thirteen acceptance letter! A little ambitious, are we?"
First of all, yes, I am ambitious because I know I'm up for the challenge.
Second of all did not ask for your opinion.
A few weeks later, I went out to Philadelphia to visit Temple at an accepted students day event in February 2017. That was when I fell in love. Not just with Temple, but with the city of brotherly love. I just knew from the moment I got here that it was meant to be. I ended up committing to Temple just based off that first visit. I was on cloud nine!
When I returned to school and officially told all my friends and teachers of my decision, most were excited.
Then there were the few, like my guidance counselor, who tried telling me to reconsider her. She never listened to me that I needed to get away from my hometown because I wasn't happy and craved something more. She told me that I would be better off at a community college because I wouldn't be putting the strain on my parents to meet the "expensive college tuition and cost of living in a city."
I think if my parents didn't want me going to Temple, they would have tried talking me out of committing or frankly even applying, to the school in the first place. I mean, really, that is why I didn't go to Michigan State or George Mason University.
When guilt tripping me into reconsidering didn't work out, my guidance counselor then tried telling me how dangerous Philadelphia was. That it was an area corrupt in drugs and gun violence, and that my safest option was going somewhere closer to home.
I hate to break it to you, but all cities are dangerous. Even Pittsburgh, so unless you never want to go to Pittsburgh again, you're wrong.
It then got to the point that she no longer was helping me find scholarships. All her suggestions of money to apply to would not follow me to the other side of the state since they were locally sponsored and only pertained to certain colleges of their choosing. Others I couldn't apply because they were for majors in STEM, which I am not.
My high school guidance counselor never took time to discuss my needs for after college. I had teachers and the best Penn State Talent Search counselor who all rallied for my success. My parents were the ones who pushed me to explore every option.
Now in my second year in college, here I am. I am proving my high school counselor wrong when she said I would end up transferring after my first year. I pushed myself to be better and take advantage of every opportunity. I am living my best life.
Never let someone try to hold you from your ambitions. Sometimes, you are going to try to weigh you down because they are envious of never taking the risk themselves. Just go on living your own best life and proving them wrong.