I Thought I Settled When I Decided On A College, But Now I Can't Imagine Myself Anywhere Else

I Thought I Settled When I Decided On A College, But Now I Can't Imagine Myself Anywhere Else

It was never clear to me which college I would go to, until I couldn't go to one of them.
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The most terrifying part of anyone's high school career is undoubtedly deciding what to do after graduation. Whether you're deciding between working or going to trade school or choosing which college to go to, it's no secret that the decision will be a tough one to make.

I spent the majority of my senior year waiting on acceptance letters and deciding between the top two schools of my choice: Clemson University and College of Charleston. I made a billion pro-con lists and spent countless hours lying awake at night trying to decide where I'd be happiest, but the choice was never blatant.

Around Christmas, my friends started getting acceptance letters and announcing their decisions to their friends and families while receiving a slew of congratulatory messages in return. I, on the other hand, was faced with the same question every single day: "Do you know where you're going to school yet?"

The question constantly loomed over me and followed me wherever I went. It wasn't until February 11 when I received a letter from Clemson University admitting me into their bridge program that I began to lean towards College of Charleston, and I was crushed. I was so involved in high school. I helped found two organizations and was president of both at some point. I played a sport and my GPA was very high. I was devastated and offended that I was offered anything less than full admission.

So, I made my decision.

I accepted admission to College of Charleston as a member of a prestigious scholarship program that I was not very excited for at all. I made the obligatory Facebook post announcing my decision and immediately received hundreds of messages from friends and family with their words of encouragement and sweet congratulations. I smiled and said that I was so excited to go to school in such an amazing city and learn at such a wonderful institution, but I had no idea that I would eventually believe those words.

I graduated on May 31 and spent my entire summer preparing myself for change. I moved into my first dorm at College of Charleston on August 16 and within a week I was questioning how I could ever wish to be somewhere else.

The day after I moved in, I went to a retreat on Seabrook Island for incoming freshmen to learn about College of Charleston and on August 21 I watched the total solar eclipse from Charleston's famous Marion Square.

I have spent countless nights at Waterfront Park looking at the lights of the Cooper River Bridge and the USS Yorktown. I have volunteered at the largest young adult literature festival in the country, YALLFest, on Upper King St where I met some of my favorite authors of all time. I have grown to love the scholarship program that I thought I would dread.

I have made friends who stick by my side at all times. I have moved in with people I love. I have joined a sisterhood that I never would've imagined myself in before my life in Charleston. I have started to love a city that I never really imagined myself in before my senior year of high school.

Although College of Charleston was not always my clear first choice, I could not imagine being anywhere else right now. The experiences I've had are irreplaceable and there is no other city in the world like Charleston. My life has truly all fallen into place here, and I'm thankful for every step that led me to The College.

Cover Image Credit: Luke Bagwell

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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