When I started my college search, I knew exactly what I wanted… Or so I thought. I wanted to go to a small school with an outstanding engineering program, so I started looking around. All the schools I loved were up north toward Pennsylvania where my extended family lives. Since I knew what I wanted, I set my hopes high; I decided I wanted to apply to some of the most competitive engineering schools in America. Then, something unexpected happened.

I bet you're thinking this is going to be some huge dramatic life change or something, but it wasn't really THAT big of a deal. I got a boyfriend. He influenced my thoughts about college and convinced me to look at Auburn because he wanted me to stay close to home. Of course, I decided to tour without a second thought. On my tour, I tried to keep an open mind. I tried to remember what my dream was and why I wanted to go to all the prestigious schools, but I was quickly drawn to the beauty and traditions of Auburn's campus.

As time went on, I noticed my dream of attending that small private college was changing. I knew it was because of my boyfriend, but I thought that he was going to be the one. I didn't end up applying to those competitive schools, but I think I probably should have. After a lot of thought, I ended up applying to four 20,000+ student public universities. My dad couldn't understand why I had changed my mind so quickly after talking about my dream schools for so long, but there was no way I could tell him the real reason.

After many family fights and tears, I decided I wanted to go to Auburn. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was one I was proud of. About a month after I had announced I was going to Auburn, my boyfriend abruptly told me that he didn't love me anymore and didn't want to be together.

I was heartbroken, to say the least. I fought to get him back because I had given up my dreams to make him happy. He moved on quickly and had a new girlfriend in about two weeks but I was stuck alone with a decision I was now unsure about. I considered reinstating my application at the other schools I had been accepted to but decided to stick with my decision. Auburn was, after all, a great engineering school, and claimed to have the same values I was raised to believe in.

When it came time for my orientation, I was scared that I was no longer going to love Auburn the same way I did when I was with my ex-boyfriend, but as soon as I stepped on campus again, I knew that Auburn was the place for me. Auburn felt like home to me, and after my orientation and first week of classes, I knew that I wouldn't feel good somewhere else. I quickly made lots of friends and decided to start my new life. I was finally happy, and being at Auburn helped me move on from him. There was no way he was as happy as I was, and I quickly realized that he wasn't the reason I came to Auburn after all.

I came to Auburn because it felt like home. I came to Auburn because each and every time I stepped on campus, I was happy. I began yelling War Eagle, and each and every time, it gave me a sense of pride. He was not the reason I came to Auburn. I came to Auburn to start a new life. To get my education and learn to be the best I can be. Choosing Auburn was the best decision of my life. So I guess I wouldn't say that I "ended up" at Auburn. Auburn became my home. My advice to you, is to go out into the college world with a completely open mind. Don't set your heart on one school, remember that you have options (and lots of them!). Find the place you love, and start calling that place home. War Eagle.