To The High School Senior Who Can't Decide Which College To Choose

To The High School Seniors Who Can't Decide, Just Follow Your Heart To College

It is not that far away when you have to make a decision for yourself on where you are going to in the fall or spring semester, but I am here with some simple advice: just follow your heart.

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November 9th — the day I got my email saying that I got accepted into Louisiana State. I woke up from a nap completely in a daze and was confused when I saw the end of the email saying that I got accepted, I thought it was fake. I ran into my sister's room and asked her to make sure this was real, and sure enough, that day changed my life completely.

I had no idea where I wanted to go my heart was set on LSU, but I wasn't sure if I was ready for the change. All of my family and friends were still back at home, I had the opportunity to stay close, but anytime I would think about going to another school, the thought of "what if" always entered my brain. Once more and more options started to appear, I had no idea how I was going to choose. Everywhere seemed to have the best program and academics. I couldn't pick a clear winner in my mind.

I remember the night that I had heard back from all the colleges and universities that I applied to. I sat in my bed feeling overwhelmed, that at that moment, I was going to have to make a final decision in the next couple of months. I figured it out. I decided I was going to go to Penn State. It seemed to be a perfect choice, not too far from home, friends, and family would be there with me, and the program was amazing. Not to mention that it was my Dad's alma mater. I wanted to see the campus one last time before I made my final decision. When I went, I could picture myself walking around and living in a state college for the next four years.

But, I didn't get that moment that everyone talks about…

Two weeks after that, I went to visit LSU's campus. When I drove up to the campus sign, I immediately got the chills. I had the chance to get a tour of my major and college; everything about it was what I was looking for. The skies were bright blue, and the weather was perfect. I was so happy being there, and I knew that was "my moment."

Since then I have been having more of these "moments." The moment when I knew I found my best friends, my TD gals. Through thick and thin these ladies have inspired me to be a better friend and have been with me through every college win and fail. That "moment" when you find your core group of friends from your classes and extracurriculars, and you can't stop laughing endlessly and being so grateful for every second that you get to spend with them. These "moments" compile and that is what your college experience is made out of. I am so grateful for all the lessons I have learned, the friends I have made, and the first experiences I have gotten to have since moving in August.

I promise you that if you listen to your heart, you'll know when it's the best decision that you could make. Cinderella always said, "a dream is a wish your heart makes", and until now, I realized that my heart was wishing to come here, but until I woke up from my dream, I didn't realize that this was truly the best place for me to be. I am so excited to come back next semester and to experience so much more.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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How High School Destroyed My Self Esteem

Where did the confidence go?

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Not too long ago my parents recovered a collection of home videos from my childhood, and recently, myself and the rest of my family have been taking the time to watch them. It has been quite an experience watching footage of a baby me crawling across the carpet or taking my first steps, but the videos of myself that I find I am most interested in watching are the videos of me when I was a little older, around elementary school age.

As is demonstrated in the multitude of videos featuring me dancing around my kitchen and finding ridiculous ways to get the attention of the camera, I was an outgoing, funny, and lively young girl. I didn't shy away from being the center of attention and was something of a comedian when the camera was turned my way. However, the reason I found these videos so interesting to watch was not just because I found my younger self hilarious. Instead, I was fascinated by the smaller me's enormous personality, because it is such a deviation from the way I am now. This led me to wonder, where did that girl go?

High school is a difficult time for all who experience it. Students face pressure to do well in their classes and meet expectations so that they can get into a good college, which often results in massive amounts of stress and anxiety. However, there are other, social, factors that make high school feel like a battlefield, factors that I, personally, had a difficult time overcoming and still affect me to this day.

When I look back on my four years of high school I realize that I placed far too much importance on popularity and fitting in. I had a set group of friends throughout high school and our group could be considered decently popular, which, at the time, quelled my anxieties about being unliked or alone. Because of these anxieties, I was desperate to keep my friends, even it meant spending time with people I didn't like or didn't make me feel good about myself, and had to teach myself lessons like hiding my true self in order to fit in. This resulted in much unhappiness because many of the friends that I had chosen to be with weren't great at being friends. They were mean, selfish, and often tore me down instead of showing me the support an insecure teenager needed from her friends.

As a result of having mediocre friends, it was often hard to feel like I had a support system when it came to dealing with the problems every teenager faces. Insecurities and lack of understanding about my own body led to weight, which didn't help boost my confidence either. To add to this, my friends, who I believed to be skinnier and prettier than me would often express dislike for the way they looked, which led me to believe that I had no reason to be confident in myself.

This culture of insulting oneself also increased my insecurity, as it left me feeling like I wasn't permitted to have confidence in myself, and instead had to tear myself down whenever I got the chance. Reflecting these negative feelings about myself instead of promoting body positivity warped my mind and made me feel unable to like the skin I was living in. There was no one to tell me that I was allowed to let myself feel good, to look in the mirror and like the girl that looked back at me. Instead, I felt pressure to conform.

So, to answer the previously posed question of where the little girl in the home videos went, here's the answer:

She didn't disappear. She was simply torn down by too many people, especially herself.

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