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If I had thought earlier that high school seniors could not be more obsessed with college, I would be terribly wrong. Even though I expected college to be a main focus of conversation after April, I did not think that I would spend every day talking about it. Thinking about it. When someone says “where are you going?” there is no doubt what they are referring to. When I look at my search history, it’s all college related. When I sit down for dinner with my parents, talk always comes back to picking a university and getting my student visa (which they insist is never too early to worry about). But I digress. Here is the current situation at hand.
By April 1, I already have many acceptances, even more rejections, and just two waitlists (which always brings up the “what if” in my mind, but I won’t consider them right now). There are a few universities that are already out of the running for me, all of which are due to weather and location. What can I say, I’m simple when it comes to my preferences. Now here lies my current dilemma. I have been accepted into UCLA (GO BRUINS!), where the weather is all that I could have hoped for, and the food is supposedly amazing (I won’t lie, the first thing I did when I received my acceptance letter was to look at their menu). Needless to say, this university fits all of my requirements, and exceeding them in most aspects. But there is still a sliver of doubt in my mind, a constant thought that prevents me from clicking accept (and no, it’s not just because I don’t think yellow looks flattering on me).
I know what you’re thinking. You are an international student applying to an American university. What did you expect? While I expected to pay an arm and a leg to go to the US, I did not expect Canadian prospects to be so tempting. With the University of Toronto offering a scholarship and other bonuses (a guaranteed job second year compared to how international students can’t work in the states), the cost of one year at UCLA exceeds all for years of undergrad at Toronto. To any sane person, this is a no brainer. Why pay so much for only undergrad? Is the weather really worth an extra $30 000 a year? Why would you go so far to just study economics (I know what I’m doing alright, you don’t need to question my major everyday)? There are many reasons for me to attend the University of Toronto, or the even closer University of British Columbia. Yet I am leaning towards the unknown, and will most likely be confirming my acceptance to UCLA (GO BRUINS) this weekend, unless I suddenly change my mind again, which I admit to be prone to doing.
There’s no definite reason for this, so I’m going to use an analogy here. Think of choosing a college like choosing a boyfriend (don’t roll your eyes just yet, I have a point to make here). Why is it that in movies the female lead always chooses the “bad boy”? The rebel in the motorcycle jacket? It’s not because of the grease in his hair, but because of the potential. There is an obvious risk, but there is the possibility of a greater reward. She does not know what might happen if she were to date this mysterious figure, just as I do not know what would happen at UCLA.
Unlike staying in Canada where I can imagine my future, I cannot picture it in America. Sure, I can imagine myself eating In-N-Out and laying out in the sun every day, but I can’t imagine a solid career or path. Unlike in Canada where I feel as though everything is set in stone, with nowhere to go but forward, UCLA is the exact opposite. It would be a fresh slate, where I can (don’t mind the cliché) reinvent myself, and really push myself out of my comfort zone. In my mind, university is supposed to be a new experience, an adventure. So I’m going to take that $30 000 risk in the hopes of it paying off in the long run, and I’m going to wear my analogical boyfriend’s motorcycle jacket.
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