Archive for college

My Future, Decided

I’ve made my decision. Next year, I’ll be going to Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. If you’re interested, the school website is here and there are some cool panoramas of Bremen here. And here is a video of free hugs made in Bremen:

I quite enjoy it. And I like the song. 

I’m mailing the forms and wiring the deposit tomorrow. And then I have a lot to do! I have to go to Radio Shack and see what voltage adapters and converters and such I need. I have to buy plane tickets. I have to talk to my bank and see if they can accomodate me living in Europe or if I need to change banks. I have to decide what I’m taking, what’s cheaper to buy there, and what I don’t need. I have to start frantically studying German. There are many preparations to be made. 

I have some reservations. Bremen isn’t a very big city, and I’m a fan of big cities. The course selection isn’t as varied as I’d like it to be. But the people seem awesome, and living in Europe will be an amazing opportunity. Even the most mundane things, like buying toothpaste, will, at first, be an adventure because they’ll be so different. I’ve never even visited a country where I don’t speak the language at least well enough to get by except Morocco but that doesn’t count because I was with a guided tour. 

I’m nervous, and, like I said, there are some things I’m not sure about, but I’ll never know unless I try, and when else will I get this chance? So I’m taking a chance, and I’m going with the option that isn’t certain, isn’t safe, isn’t something I know I love. I’m going with “adventurous” and “exciting.” Or maybe “reckless” and “stupid.” Or maybe all four. And I’m excited.

freedom

What it all comes down to is freedom. 

In pursuit of freedom, I’ve worked hard enough for the past three and a half years to be offered the scholarships I’m choosing between now (and more), because I’ve always known I don’t want to be trapped in North Carolina. If you have to stay in a place you hate (though I’m growing to love it more as leaving becomes more of the concrete, immediate future, rather than just the someday future), that’s not freedom. 

This summer, I felt trapped by the end of my six weeks at Governor’s School, and I was miserable. 

It’s hard for me to admit that, because there were things I loved, and most people loved the whole experience. I loved some of the classes, and I loved writing for the newspaper. The rest of it felt like “freedom” to most people, but to me, it was a cage with invisible bars.

No one woke you up in the morning for class, no one told you what to eat, no one told you when to sleep (though you did have to be in your room at a certain time), and that was freedom to them. They were blissfully happy and felt independent. They couldn’t see the bars of the cage.

We had to stay within the boundaries of Old Salem. This is a historical tourist area. We were trapped there. We had limited internet access because it wasn’t in the dorms, and the library was hardly open, so not only were we trapped in a boring geographic area, we were also isolated, to a large degree, from the outside world. We saw the same four hundred faces every day, and there was no chance for variety. We were trapped in a stifling routine, and that felt like a cage I couldn’t get out of. 

Now, with my college choices, I’m trying at all costs to avoid that feeling. I want to feel free. I want to have choices. I want to be able to escape monotony. I don’t want to feel trapped or tied down. 

So now the question is, what offers more freedom? A situation where I can take off to another country for a weekend, or one where every day presents opportunities to explore the same vast city? 

Well, apparrently the open-all-the-time concept (like Waffle House or Wal-Mart) is uniquely American, and I feel like that gives me, as a night owl, more freedom to go and do something no matter what time it is. Also apparently things in Germany are closed on Sundays. However, travel is more freeing than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I’d have more travel opportunities in Europe. They are different types of freedom. Which is more freedom? That’s the question I’m trying to answer. Should it be?

I have two dreams. I’ve always had two dreams. I love the energy of a big city, and New York’s energy is unique, and I love it. I’ve always dreamed of living there. On the other hand, I’ve always loved foreign cultures, and I’ve always wanted to live in a foreign country, and travel has been a huge dream of mine. Which dream do I take now, and which dream will come around again? 

I don’t know the answers here. I’m just trying to figure things out.

indecision prevails

I am still indecisive. Also, if you want more details, feel free to email me, but I’m not going to bore my half-dozen readers by rambling on about the details of each choice.

I have realized that I suck at making decisions, and, what’s more, I’ve never made a life-changing decision of this magnitude before. I have, for the most part, taken the path of least resistance, and while I suppose that is a choice, it’s a passive choice. This is the biggest active choice I have ever made, affecting the next 3-4 years of my life directly, and indirectly everything after that. 

Every time I think I’ve chosen a school, I change my mind. I am indecisive, still. I know it’s a choice I’m lucky to have, but I don’t feel that way when it’s got me so stressed out I make myself physically ill, and I’ve cried more in the past two weeks than the past two years. They’re both good choices; that’s what makes it so hard. If there was a clear wrong choice, it would be easy, and it’s far from that. Even though there’s not a bad choice, there’s still a better choice, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out. 

I wanted choices. That’s why I applied to so many colleges. Now I’m kicking myself for it; I am clearly awful at dealing with choices.

Decisions To Make?!?!

I thought I had it all figured out. The college thing, I mean. I was expecting to move to New York City next year and go to Fordham University. I was excited.

And I can still do that. But now, I have options. Very tempting options. It suddenly became cheaper to move to Bremen, Germany and attend Jacobs University. Yeah. Germany. Moving to Europe. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages. An amazing opportunity that I can’t imagine passing up. 

I love both options. I love them so much that I don’t want to let go of either one. There are definite benefits to each one. I don’t know what to do. Somehow, my certainty and excitement have become paralyzing, exciting indecision.

independence

I still haven’t figured out what independence means, entirely, but part of it is not living with my parents, and I can’t wait for that. 

I love my parents, of course. They’re my parents. But after I graduate, I NEVER want to speak to them on a daily basis. They are…our relationship is complicated. They seem to live to make me feel bad about myself, to insult me and attack me. If I try to start a reasonable discussion about something, they either laugh at me and mock my stupidity/naivety, or it turns into a malicious personal attack. Either way, I end up in tears. I’ve tried to talk to them about it, thinking maybe they don’t realize…and maybe they don’t, but that discussion ended up with me retreating in tears, too. 

But after I’m done with high school and off to college, I might be sort of financially dependent on them as they’re helping out with my college education, but I will not be day-to-day emotionally dependent on them. I can be free of them, and maybe I can finally be happy. I’ll be thrilled to see them at Christmas, but I’ll need the rest of the year to heal. It makes me sad just to think and talk about it, but that’s how it’ll be, and they’ll never have any idea how much it hurts.

Celebration!

I’ve applied to nine colleges so far, with four more to go. Is it crazy to apply to fourteen colleges? The general consensus is yes. However, it’s already starting to pay off–two acceptances so far! Neither one is a surprise, but it is a really awesome feeling to be wanted. There will be hopefully bigger celebrations to come if I’m accepted to my top choices, but I’m still REALLY happy about this. The letter today made a bad day into a good one. The situations with these two schools are very different, though.

The first to accept me was St. Louis University’s Madrid campus. I would LOVE to go to school in Madrid, and SLU is a Jesuit school, so I trust there is some educational quality at work there, even if it’s not top-rated. However, it would, of course, be very expensive. If I get a scholarship, they’ll tell me later this month, and I’ll also apply for financial aid, but it’s quite unlikely that I’ll be headed off to Madrid in the fall.

The second was St. John’s University, in Queens, New York. SJU is not of the highest academic quality, but as far as I can tell it’s solid. They also have an honors program which will be something to look into.  It’s not my top school, academically or socially or anything else, but…they offered me a Presidential Scholarship, which is full tuition as well as partial room and board. I know I can afford it, of course, and it’s in New York, so it’ll definitely be in consideration. I just hope that, if I don’t get a similar offer anywhere else, my parents don’t try to make this decision for me just because it’s affordable.

Which brings me to…What am I willing to do for the college education I want? How much am I willing to work? How many loans am I willing to take out? I guess that’s something that needs to be decided, unless one of my top choices decides to give me loads of money. But I know I’ll be going somewhere, to SJU if nowhere else, and it’s great to have that security right now. I really, really appreciate St. John’s right now, and even if I don’t end up going there, I’m grateful that they wanted me enough to offer me this opportunity.