Nov 22

The Big Switch (Part 1)

It was really hard for me to begin the process of applying to colleges. I had my little list. Princeton was up there with Old Dominion, East Carolina, and NC State. I talked about going to college all the time, about who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and how I would change the world. I would sit at the computer, telling myself that today would be the great day, and that I would finally do what I needed to do. But it was always so hard just to start, so I never did. I’d tell myself, “I’ll just do it tomorrow”; but I never did. My mom kept asking, “Do you even want to go to college?” The answer was “yes,” of course. I’d never questioned that I would go to college. It was always the next step, the path to a greater future. The truth was that I was a little afraid.

Movies, books, and TV all make college look like one big party. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make myself believe the image. I was scared. I was afraid that I would get to whichever college I had finally decided on (for the longest time I was dead set on East Carolina) and fail out completely. Or that I would never even make it there at all, that I wouldn’t get a single acceptance letter. So I found little ways to put it off. I had more important things to do. I didn’t feel like writing the essays. I didn’t have time. Eventually, the reasons became excuses, and the first of the year was getting closer with me still unmoving.  Most of my friends and classmates had already been accepted to the college of their choice, and some already had their housing arrangements. It was depressing, really; and finally I just gritted my teeth, quite literally, and did it with my mom’s help. And then, I got my first acceptance letter – from ECU.

I almost couldn’t believe it. I was going to college!

During this whole process, I had never thought about applying to Barton. My heart belonged to ECU. I couldn’t wait to make it to G-Vegas and party with the best. Besides, it wasn’t like I didn’t know Barton College.  I’d worked for almost two years as a counselor at a camp housed on Barton’s campus. How was this supposed to be a new experience for me?  I wasn’t especially sold on the idea of spending my whole summer in the dorms only to come back in the fall.

“Year round at Barton?” I thought. “No, thanks!”

But what could it hurt?

The online application was free, so I applied. My acceptance letter to Barton was just another notch in the proverbial belt. It was just another formality. I was East Carolina bound. My train was about to leave the station.  But sometimes life sends you down another track. And sometimes you switch trains at the last minute. I had bought my ticket to Pirate Town, but I exchanged it for Bulldog Central.

Want to know why? Then, stay tuned.  (To be continued …)