How To Accept the Terrifying Fact That You're Going to College MAG

April 20, 2018

If you’re like me and take months to fully process the extremity of things, you’ll understand where I’m going with this. If you’re a perfectly functioning human with a god-given spoonful of eagerness for the future – screw you.

I’m just kidding. We all have our things. My thing, however, is knowing that college is around the corner. When I first opened that acceptance letter, my heart sang a thousand tunes of 50 Cent’s “Birthday.” It was supposed to be a celebration, right? A big whoopy-doo from the parents, a congratulatory evening with the friends, and a $25 Amazon gift card from Aunt Judy. It felt, however, that people were more excited than I was. I couldn’t complain – I got into my dream school in a beautiful town with a beautiful campus on a beautiful farm with beautiful goats – but man, why wasn’t I jumping for joy? Immediately after the celebratory dinner, I went straight to my room and had myself a little pity party, ironically blasting “Congratulations” by the one and only MGMT. Why was I so desperately trying to hide from this seemingly happy occasion? All I could hear was my mother’s voice in the back of my head, saying, “It’s okay to let yourself be sad.” Sure, it was a cheery line, something out of a romantic sitcom, but it had substance to it. So, here I was – sitting in the pitch black, binge-eating popcorn and religiously repeating “Congratulations” until my head was consumed with catchy melodies and melancholic lyrics.

Fast forward to three months later. I’m walking home from school following my usual route, when I pass by the local bakery. The bakery where, for the past 17 years, I’ve bought my birthday cakes (always vanilla with chocolate frosting). Children are stuffing delicate madeleines into their small cheeks and pestering their parents for just one more cookie. And that, my friends, is where it hit me. Amidst the sweet smells and smelly children, I came to the conclusion that I was growing up. Literally moving on. No more madeleines or birthday cakes, but 10-page term papers and a whole new set of expectations. I was leaving behind everything I was familiar with. I never thought I would be one to fear change. But here I was, drowning in an existential crisis that was the reality of college, listening to Elliott Smith and wondering if he felt the same way.

Fast forward to a month later. I have confirmed my decision to attend Hampshire College, filed all the hefty financial aid forms, and all in all, cannot wait to start a fresh slate. You may ask, what changed? Well, my friends, I merely accepted that life goes on. Carpe diem, seize the day. But really, my fear channeled into excitement. New opportunities, new friends. Ramen noodles and midterms and freedom upon freedom. Change was an alien concept to me, but now I’m learning to embrace it and find a new, better version of myself for the years to come. As David Bowie said, “Turn and face the strange.” 


The author's comments:

This piece is about change; and although written about college, it extends to others who have difficulty living with change. It is an internal conflict with myself, and I think many others would relate. 


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