There are a lot of reasons I want to go to college. Some of them logical, some not so much. Some of them can’t be printed.
But regardless of the motive, going to college seems like the next step, a step I’m finally ready to take.
I just didn’t realize how much of a hassle it would be.
For me, the hardest part of applying to college may have been finding a college to apply to.
As appealing as college has been to me for the last several years, it’s always been more of an abstract concept, a nameless heaven of distant parents and unlimited dessert.
So it caught me off guard the first time I cracked the thick college guidebook my mom had bought me, staring in disbelief as I realized that picking a college might be based on more than the one with the most attractive girls.
After two hours of poring over the two-page college profiles, my progress consisted of realizing that there were hardly any colleges that were rated as having good food. Not a good start.
I was able to narrow things down over the next couple of weeks, developing a list of criteria that I wanted in a school. (Yes, good food was on the list.)
I’d always wanted to go to college in a city, which helped knock some rural schools out of the running.
However, as I continued examining college reviews, I came to realize that I was leaning more and more towards a smaller school. Finally pleased with the progress I was making, I discovered a slight catch – finding a small school in a big city was like finding a dog that liked the vet. The two just didn’t mix.
The internet, as usual, was the solution. Type in “small college in big city” in Google and a surprisingly extensive list comes up.
I picked some out, looked some up, and before I knew it I had set up several visits and interviews at my tentative selections. At the suggestion of one of the schools, I even arranged an overnight stay.
I’d heard mixed reviews from friends who’d done overnights before. Some claimed they had been purposely paired with someone disagreeable, perhaps in attempt to prepare them for living with a roommate, or marriage.
Nevertheless, I agreed to spend a night in a dorm, to try and live the “college experience” firsthand.
I was pleasantly surprised. The student, Ryan, in whose dorm I was staying was friendly. The dorm itself was comfortable. Even the weather was unseasonably warm.
In the evening Ryan took me to meet some friends at the campus basketball courts, and we played a fast-paced game until around 10, leaving me ready for a shower and a good night’s sleep.
Ryan, however, along with the rest of the college, had other plans. I barely had time for a shower before I was dragged off to a campus party, loud music blaring over the movie playing in the background.
I wandered awkwardly for a bit, trying my hardest to avoid being pegged as a high schooler. Luckily, I was rescued by Ryan, who quickly ushered me into a car packed with students.
We drove for a while, the jostling and laughter of the people around me keeping me from falling asleep. The car pulled into a restaurant parking lot as I glanced at the time – 1:30 a.m.
I struggled to stay awake, remembering with dismay that I had an interview with an admissions officer at 8 the next morning. By the time we got back to the dorms I could barely stand from exhaustion. I resolved to ask my guidance counselor to add “functioning without sleep” to the list of helpful skills in college.
The next morning came far too quickly. The water I splashed on my face did little to rescue me from my vegetable-like state. I stumbled into the admissions office, thankful for the plush couches that sat in the lobby.
I sank into the nearest one, leaning my head back against the table that stood behind the sofa. Suddenly, I heard a sickening crash, and spun around to see that what I had just rested my head against was in fact a medium-sized statue (presumably a bust of the late college president) that now lay in pieces on the floor.
The receptionist looked on wide-eyed as my interviewer entered the room, her expression matching.
Uncomfortable is an understatement for how I felt.
I was told, “Don’t worry about it,” and whisked into an office for my interview without another word. (In my experience, if anyone ever tells you not to worry about something, it probably means you should be very, very worried.)
My interview was a blur. My thoughts focused on the ancient heirloom that I had just destroyed. I shook my interviewer’s hand, and left the building without another glance, already sure that I could add this college to the “rejected” list.
Two months later, however, I received a large envelope in the mail, and to my surprise, I had been admitted. I just hop the price of a new statue isn't included in the tuition costs.
- Evan Katz is a Hopkinton High School Senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.