Dear Class of 2016,
Congratulations! You are officially in one of the scariest places in your life, and we could not be more excited for you. In the next few months you are leaving one part of life behind and getting ready to embark on a new journey. As you wait to hear back about all of your college decisions, you are either praying you get into your dream school, hoping to get into a school, or just not sure of what you want to do at all.
As a freshman in college, let me tell you that my college decision ended up being the best of my life. I decided to attend the University of Maryland, College Park although I had my doubts. It was a bit close to home, I wasn't into sports like I am now (I see no other true way of living besides through entertainment, macaroni and cheese, and sports) and I didn't want to run into people from my high school every two seconds.
I'm sure these are also some of the thoughts swarming in your head about whatever University you have in mind. So, let me tell you a thing or two about college and give you some advice.
1. You're never really too close to home.
Although I grew up living close to campus, I decided to live on campus. This means that I am able to stay on-campus in the midst of everything, but also, when I am missing home, my mom is only a phone call away. So never think that you are too close or that you want to get really far away. When I chose to go to Maryland I was thrilled; I didn't need to wait for care packages from home, and I knew that the comfort of my bed was available whenever.
No matter where you go to school your parents are going to cry when they drop you off, and you will cry when they leave. Just because you're on your own, and just because there's been a rocky relationship in the past, means absolutely nothing. Even so, no one made me come home, and I didn't do it too often. So, if that is a concern, take it out of your mind. Trust me.
2. Never listen to what "other kids" say about a school.
Where I come from, Maryland was a "safety school," even though around 90 kids in my class ended up getting rejected. It is getting tougher to get into many different colleges, and a lot of colleges are tightening up their admissions process.
If you get in anywhere, be proud. Only seven percent of the world gets to sit in a college seat, so never belittle a school and think of it as an easy or stupid school. Sure, some are easier to get into than others, but college isn't easy, and picking a college isn't an easy decision.
Go online to the school's website (I cannot stress this enough; stay away from college magazines or Yelp reviews) and research every single thing the school has to offer. What meal plans they offer, what food courts and places they have on campus, the sports, the campus, the classes. Do the research yourself, or you won't get a true sense of how you'll fit into the university.
Every student is different. The kids at your high school may not personally want to go to the school, or they may hold some kind of vendetta against it and think lowly. Who cares; this is YOUR decision, and this is your life that you are going to be leading.
3. Be confident of where you want to go, and take your time.
Be sure you want to attend the school you're going to. Once you make the decision, take your time on the finer details. Don't rush to find a roommate; trust me, wait until you find one who is just like you and who can live with you. You wouldn't want a psycho roommate or a terrible relationship to kick off Freshman year.
If you are waiting for another school that you truly have your heart set on attending, don't commit elsewhere. Wait for all your options and go where you want. Again, it is a decision -- your choice -- that will lead to the greatest four years of your life.
If you seriously want more advice, feel free to tweet me. I have amazing opportunities here at University of Maryland, and I love this school and everyone here. I can tell you all you need to know about college and making the decision.
So congratulations to the Class of 2016! Enjoy your final semester as a high school student and prepare for the next big step in life!