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.