It's coming to that time of year when high school seniors get back their acceptance letters from the colleges and universities they've applied to over the course of the past four-plus months. The anxieties of opening acceptance or rejection letters, there comes down to the choice of which college to attend. Despite the academic factors, social interactions have the capability to make or break someone's college experience; so when finding a school that meets to a students social needs is as important as academics.
Through this need of a social circle in a new chapter of a student's life, many students stick to the same social circles in high school. From planning out which one of you high school besties are going to be your roommate to picking out classes together, the future just seems more stable knowing you're not going into the dark, unknown abyss of college alone.
But I believe that it is through this adjustment to the unstable that our true personalities shine.
During the spring of my senior year, I decided to attend a small, liberal arts college on the prairie of west-central Minnesota. Whenever I'd bring up of the name of the college, nearly everyone responded, "where is that?" My college is not the most well known school in Minnesota but it was the perfect fit for me: a close community, phenomenal scholarship offers and an atmosphere that made me feel like home. Where people saw another small-town university, I saw my dream college. The only thing that I found was a concerning factor was the fact that I was the only one of my school, and friend group for that matter, that was attending this college. While I decided on a campus out of state, many of my friends either decided to go to a local state college or lay off school for a semester. My greatest fear of attending college was that I was going to be alone.
Often I would contemplate giving up my dream school to attend my state's college just so I wouldn't be so far away from my friends. But no matter where I looked, these state schools didn't compare to the fit that my dream schools had to me. I was at a crossroad. In the end, I decided to take a leap of faith and venture out into the next stage of my life on my own. And I can confidently say it was the best decision I could have made for myself.
Going to a "new-start" college allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. At times, it was hard experiencing life on my own without my strong network of friends by my side. But it re-enforced my self confidence through trying new things, meeting new people, finding my own interests and most importantly discovering who I was as a human being.
But I never lost contact with my closest friends. Although miles away, phone calls and texts became our lifeline. It reassured me that through the distance between us, we were still an important aspect of our relationships. Through this I became aware that I wasn't just afraid of being alone, but being forgotten. The years I have spent with my friends from elementary to high school I feared the thought of losing the people who I cared for most dearly. But it was through that friendship that I found the support to live my life to the fullest, even if that meant going to school hours away from them. My closest friends were my biggest supporters and through that they motivated me to seek out my fullest potential.
College is a beautiful time in life to venture out and explore the next stage of your life. At times, it's hard to move on from the love and security that your friends give you. But if they are your true friends, they will stay. They will continue to support you no matter where you go and believe in you and your dreams. At times it is important to remember that it's okay to let go. Your life isn't solely determined through the relationships you build, but the relationship and respect you have for yourself in order to grow and thrive.