When I was applying for colleges during my junior year of high school, I never anticipated that I would be interested in attending a private school with less than a thousand total students. My dream schools were University of Arizona, New York University and the likes; I didn’t even know Wells College existed until my junior year of high school, when I met one of the charismatic admissions counselors at the local college fair. And I’m so lucky I did, because Wells College changed my life forever, for the better.

From the moment I stepped out of the car on my first visit to the college, I knew Aurora, New York would be my new home (for the next four years, at least). I knew that I would miss Cayuga Lake when I was away, that I would miss the Sycamore tree (that I can now see from the window in my dorm room). I knew that I would never be the same after I had spent so much of my life within its walls and among its people.

Not only did Wells College provide me with a place to live, food to eat and an education for four whole years, it has also provided me with new people to love and call my family. I have been given more opportunities to learn and to grow and to discover myself than I ever could have imagined three and a half years ago when I was still a junior in high school, searching for schools from which I could acquire my bachelor’s degree. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if I had chosen any other school, I would not be the person I am today. I could not imagine myself having not known the people I have met at Wells College and having not done the things I have done since arriving on campus a year and a half ago.

When I was in high school I would never have dreamed of the person I would become after even my first semester at college. I like to think that I am being shaped into the person I will be for the rest of my life; someone who is brave, strong, and true. I know that college is supposed to prepare you for the real world, that it is supposed to help you to gain experience that will help you become a proper adult, but I think that Wells College is my real world. I think that it is the beginning of my real world, and that the wonderful, kind people I have met and the experiences I have gained will be my real world for the rest of my life.

The sense of community I feel among the students at my school is on par with the sense of academic safety I am provided with because of professors who genuinely want to see my peers and I succeed. These people are our superiors, but they often treat us as their equals, as well. They treat us with individualized kindness and are often known to do everything they can to accommodate any difficulties we face.

Wells College – my tiny, quirky community full of people just like me – has brought out the best in me, a part of me I had never seen before I joined it. It taught me to love myself and to be myself no matter what. It taught me that I am never alone, regardless of whether or not I think I am. Wells continues to teach me to find strength in the face of adversity, and warmth in the face of indignation. It has shaped me into the best version of me that I could possibly be.