Deciding what college to attend is probably one of the most crucial decisions a high schooler needs to make and it takes a lot of time and energy to officially make that decision.
Ever since I was a little girl, I always saw myself going down south. My family makes trips to South Carolina every summer and exploring schools around that area was my ideal setting. I wanted warm weather and sun and the ability to wear a dress year-round, so the University of South Carolina was the dream school for me.
Sorry for all the love towards South Carolina, but the University of South Carolina was the first school I visited and the campus was unimaginably beautiful. We went to a football game against rival school Clemson and explored the night-life of USC. My mind was completely set on going there and nothing seemed to shake my mind. Throughout my junior year of high school, I checked to see what ACT and SAT scores I had to get to be competitive and worked on the personal statement for months to perfect it. All my focus was set on getting into USC.
One summer night, my family and I were sitting down at dinner having a conversation to see if I wanted to explore any other colleges before I started applying in the fall. I told them I was fine with the list I had which was South Carolina, Penn State, Coastal Carolina, Ohio State, University of Delaware and Bucknell, which was my dad's alma mater.
My mom spoke up and asked, “Would you be interested in checking out my school? I feel like you would really like it.” Her school was Michigan State University which I shut down immediately. I love my mom to death, don't get me wrong, but I had no interest at all in going up and seeing Michigan (hate me all you want, I can promise you by the end of this story I changed my mind).
My whole understanding about college is that I wanted to go to a school that was well-known and none of my family went to so I could have my own experiences to show off. Also, the only time we ever talked about Michigan State was during basketball season when they would get into the March Madness playoff games. So why would I follow in my mom's footsteps?
Now, my mom is hard to persuade, so she bought plane tickets against my will and in May we flew up to East Lansing. At first, we just did a typical school tour where they show you all the most well-known monuments of Michigan State and some classroom sizes. I remember my mom being completely into it as this was her first time back at Michigan State since she graduated, but me, well, I was just observing my surroundings and picturing South Carolina instead.
My mindset never strayed until one moment during the tour I vividly remember. We were walking out of the library and onto the bridge that is above the Red Cedar. As everyone else's eyes were gazing along the river, mine were directly focused at the gigantic Spartan header above the football stadium. I remember picturing what it was like inside the stadium, how the fans cheered and how the team has to run out to the field from their locker rooms.
I remember thinking of the marching band and their halftime performances or how animated a mascot like Sparty the Spartan would be. And at this very moment, I pulled my mom aside and told her that I could possibly see myself at this school. She was stunned at first since my mood about the school was so negative prior to this interaction, but she gave me a big hug and told me to keep that in mind cause she had a little surprise for me after the tour was over.
With the school tour over and the day winding away, my mom and I hopped into our rental car and she asked me, “Are you ready?”
I'm always down for adventure, but what else was there to see besides what the tour gave me? We drove up to Grand River and down M.A.C and she pulled up to a small white house. She told me that this was the house she lived in junior year and all the memories she and her friends had in it, the late-night conversations and early morning wake-up calls for classes.
We continued down and saw all these large houses with Greek letters on them; she pointed out the sorority she was in, Zeta Tau Alpha. We kept driving around and she kept showing me all the places that she would go to and the backstories behind them and I just felt an immediate connection to the place. To have all these amazing stories like my mom had was what I wanted college to be like for me.
The entire time I was picking colleges, I wanted to have a different experience from the rest of my family, but I learned that I can still have my own experience at the same school and I liked the idea that she would have a completely different story about the same place. And so slowly but surely, I began to lose interest in South Carolina and began to dream of a life at Michigan State.
Michigan State was also the first school I heard back from which made me feel like it was especially interested in me attending. I joined the Michigan State GroupMe's to find a roommate and from then on, it was set that I was going to spend four years at the best school ever. Go Green!