There was a point during Jenna Hamilton’s senior year at Palos Hills High School at which she would have killed to enroll at Southern Coast University. Now, a year after her freshman college experience at Wyckoff, she’s made the choice to leave SCU in her rearview mirror. But does it belong there?
On tonight’s two-part Awkward finale, Jenna, who’d been rejected by SCU only months before, got an interview with the Dean of Admissions. Her boyfriend Luke had sent the creative writing department some of her material, and before Jenna knew it, she had a second shot at the school. And, after only a few minutes of conversation with one particularly powerful higher-up, she secured a spot.
Jenna was quick to identify the moment as a dream come true, but as she began to celebrate with Luke, she realized all she’d leave behind at Wyckoff: friends, a sense of identity among the school’s literary community, and a preferred sandwich at the student union’s basement dining hall.
“In that moment, I had the saddest thought ever: I might never go back there, I might never get to have another haddock sandwich,” she said. “I might not see my tiny little dorm that I shared with Brita, my friends.”
Something else she’d leave behind? The potential for a reunion with Matty. Though the ex-couple spent most of the summer at each other’s throats, their romance began to manifest again as fall approached, and if Jenna committed to SCU and stayed with Luke, that meant her chances at a relationship with Matty were over. SCU might have been much closer to Matty’s apartment at Berkeley than was Wyckoff, but proximity meant nothing if Jenna was unavailable.
Still, after a pronounced guilt trip from Luke, who continued to point out how he’d put his neck on the line for Jenna, the seesawing continued, and Jenna recommitted to a seat at SCU. Plus, to prove how serious she was about transferring, she agreed to accompany Luke to an open house and forego one last goodbye party at her beloved Camp Pookah, which was shutting its doors for good.
About an hour into the wine-and-cheese routine, though, Jenna realized that SCU wasn’t exactly what she’d pictured it to be. The day sort of played out like a preview of her buttoned-up future, and Luke continued to pressure her to adopt a more erudite demeanor. Conversely, Matty, with whom Jenna eventually reunited at Camp Pookah after fleeing the SCU event, begged her to place her bets on herself, whether that meant reuniting with him or staying with Luke.
“I love you,” Matty said in the camp’s supply closet -- the first place he and Jenna had hooked up years earlier. “And more than anything in the world, Jenna, what I want is to tell you to choose me over him. But I’m not gonna do that, because the one thing that I want more than anything is for you to choose yourself.”
“In that moment, I knew it was true,” Jenna reflexively thought to herself. “Matty McKibben may not have known a thing about me last time we were here, but by now, he knew me better than anyone.”
And with that, Jenna finally (for real this time …) decided Maine fit her just right -- and, by extension, so did Matty. Still, they’ve been here many times before, and there’s no telling whether their relationship will survive the weekend.
What do you think -- even if Luke weren’t part of the equation, did Jenna make the right choice to stay put at Wyckoff, and is it sincerely the school for which she’s meant? Or should she have been bold enough to uproot herself and move, and is she denying herself a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Tell us what you think!