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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have five seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2013 to June 2014!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

Over the past few months, I’ve been a bit low key in terms of announcing what schools I’ve applied to and where I’ve gotten accepted–not necessarily because I’d like them to remain anonymous, but mainly because I would constantly add and subtract schools from my list. Drum roll please, because today is your lucky day–the day I reveal my college list.

I’ve had the fortune of being accepted into the majority of the colleges I’ve applied to, including  UT-Pan American, Trinity University, Southwestern University, St. Edward’s University, Smith College, Macalester College, and Oxford College of Emory University. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’ve been waitlisted at Wellesley College and 2 BS/MD programs that partner with my local university.

About three weeks ago, I received my rejection letter from Northwestern University (my dream school) via email; to say I was heartbroken and completely wrecked is completely over dramatizing the situation. Though I was saddened by the outcome, quite honestly, I was okay with the decision. After I stepped back and looked at things in retrospective, I came to the conclusion that I was never really in love with Northwestern but rather the idea of attending Northwestern. Confused? Don’t worry, so was I for about two hours straight. But the reality of it is, we weren’t a good match and we never really were. I’d better face the reality now rather than “fall in love” with a school only to realize I’d rather be anywhere else but there two years later.

Now Where?

At this point, I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be attending come fall 2014. If you knew me in real life, you’d probably whack me in the head right now and make me decide on a place before May 1st. As much as even I’d like to do that to myself, the problem is not that I’m completely indecisive about choosing a school–really, it’s not even that. The problem is, whenever I make a pros and cons list for each school, the number one factor that’s hindering any progress in my decision is everyone’s worst nightmare–financial aid.

Because I am the first in my family to apply to private, out-of-state schools, I had absolutely no idea what the financial aid process was. I automatically assumed that the FAFSA was all that was needed to be filed. Much to my dismay, I was dead wrong. Long story short, because I have yet to fill out the CSS profile, anything out of state related is at a standstill. Even more so, I plan on attending medical school after finishing my undergrad. Yes, I realize that medical school is a long, long, long stop down the road, but when it comes to finances, there’s a certain aspect of realism that needs to be put in place. Medical school, or even any graduate school, is expensive. Am I really going to splurge a huge amount of debt just to get my bachelor’s degree and enter medical school with $70,000 of debt? Being in debt is the last burden I’d put on my parents’ shoulders, so the prospect of attending my local university is definitely still in the picture.

Insert eye roll here. Local university. When I realized that finances may be the reason I end up staying at home for another four years, I wanted to cry. And cry. And cry some more. As solid of a school the University of Texas Pan American is, it just doesn’t seem like it’s for me. Everyone in my town goes to this school, and because of this, I’d rather not live through another High School 2.0. Because I know the circumstances of my situation, I realize that I need to be completely realistic about life. Is being in debt really something I’d like to have by the age of 22, or should I hold off on my dreams and be wise of my decisions?

The Awkward Prefrosh 

As I ponder more and more on that question every day, I can’t help but be swayed by the former option. Similar to my good friend Celeste Barnaby, the idea of being that one socially awkward prefrosh is pretty much overwhelming. The great thing about starting college is that I get to start fresh in a new environment. As soon as I got my acceptance letters, I immediately searched for “_____ Class of 2018” on Facebook, just to get an idea of what my future classmates will be like. Two weeks later and I am in love–I want to befriend everyone. It’s incredible to see how just a few hundred kids can be so diverse. There are people from literally all over the globe–India, China, Poland, Hawaii, Alaska–all with different stories as to why and how they chose “X-college”.

Hearing people go on and on about themselves doesn’t just make me excited for college; it makes me excited for the future. It’s reassuring to know that no matter where I end up at, things will be different. We’ll experience new things, make new friends, maybe even switch interests. So yes, there may be 55 more days of school left, but treasure those last 55 days because after that, you and I’ve got 1460 days with a completely new group of people.

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