As high school seniors, we all have anxiety about where we will go to college. Usually, our lists consist of a dream school, a few reach schools, and a handful of safe schools. When I was a senior, I applied to mostly liberal arts colleges like Sarah Lawrence, Wellesley, Smith, Reed, and Wesleyan. There was something about Wesleyan that had a dreamlike aura surrounding it. It was prestigious, it was liberal, it was artsy, it — supposedly — had a great LGBTQ community. So when I found out I got in, I was elated. I immediately forgot about the other schools and committed to Wesleyan. Perhaps I jumped too fast.
I started my semester at Wesleyan with the understanding that college is about acclimating, so I continued the first semester and remained dedicated to my classes. But part of the college experience was still missing. Sure, I flourished academically, but I yearned for a school with a more active LGBTQ community. I realized I needed a school where I could enjoy myself socially and not just academically.
Walking through the desolate campus one day, I realized I longed to be in a more urban setting, in a place where, despite being lonely, I would never actually be alone. Because, by nature, I am still an introvert who enjoys solitude. At that point, I knew I needed to tell my parents about my desire to transfer, but man, I dreaded their responses. After all, this was supposed to be my dream school. After a few minutes of raised voices and clichéd insults, my parents showed their support; they would help me. They understood, like me, that the dream changes.
As a society, we never talk about transferring; we never talk about how dreams evolve. When I realized I wanted to transfer, there was even a sense of fear: What does it say about me that I chose wrongly? Here’s the thing: As a high school senior, I was confused, overwhelmed, and dying to make a decision. I did not weigh the pros and cons as I should have, but being that it is a year later, my wants have also changed. In fact, I want to major in communications, which is not even offered at Wesleyan.
According to The New York Times, one in three students will transfer schools. Barack Obama, George Lucas, and John F. Kennedy — among others — all transferred. So why do we never talk about it? Life is not a series of right decisions; rather, it’s an accumulation of the corrections we make from our wrong ones. And, in fact, most of the time it’s not as simple as a right or wrong choice. Decisions aren’t easy to make, especially one about where to attend college.
Finally, I’ve come to the understanding that it is OK to transfer — all my applications are submitted. Sure, I have to go through that waiting process again. But unlike last year, I’m already in college, I know I am a valuable student, and I will not depreciate my self-worth because of a rejection. To all high school seniors: Choose wisely, but also don’t be afraid of choosing wrongly. There is always time to rectify your mistakes; transferring is always an acceptable option. Hey, the dream changes.
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