Self Guidance

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I feel nervous as I wait for my mom to enter the guidance office. I have no idea where I want to go to college. The whole college process is so stressful and I have not even really started it yet. An endless number of questions pass through my mind as I sit in the guidance office waiting for my mom to show up. The more I think about it, the higher my temperature goes and the stickier my palms become. I feel that even if my mom walked through the door that second, I would not be able to get up and follow her into Mrs. Mazza’s office. I sit glued to my seat.
Because I am so independent, I thought that I wanted to definitely get out of New Jersey. From there, the possibilities were endless. I had free-range of the whole United States. Somehow I needed to narrow this wide variety of choices. That was probably the easiest part.
Brookdale is a really nice school, and I know a lot of people who go there and love it. But if I went there I would continue to live at home and I am not sure if that really cuts it. I love my house and my family and I do have a very good life, but I think that I need to go away for a while. I need to give myself a chance to truly miss and appreciate them, and give them a chance to trust my judgment and release some of the pressure from the thumb on my head.
One state I could rule out was Rhode Island. After spending six weeks there and being bored out of my mind, I knew that it was not the right choice for me. There was just not enough going on there. One “must” was a nearby beach. I have grown up living five minutes from the beach. I cannot just give up my beach for four years. No way would that ever fly, and I needed somewhere where it would be warm most of the time. I love the warmth with just a tiny, very, very tiny, bit of cold.
I guess, when I thought about it, could rule out any of the Northeast. It was too cold too much of the time. What was left were the West Coast and the Southeast Coast. From the beginning I had ruled out states like Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama because I cannot stand the accent down there. I think I would regret picking any school on the Gulf Coast. The humidity on the East Coast gives me the worst OCD: I always feel like my hair is messed up and I cannot stop touching it. Northern States were out. Florida and North Carolina were in, my hair not withstanding, I thought. They would give me the freedom I was looking for, and I had already been there a bunch of times and was familiar with those two states.
But what about the West Coast, California to be exact? My parents had always wanted to live out there. They said it was absolutely gorgeous and that I would love it. It gets really hot, but it is a dry heat so no humidity and no messing up my hair. It's on the coast, so beaches galore. And there is enough going on to satisfy my hunger for excitement. The idea of California seemed perfect with just one major flaw: too much distance. It was true that I wanted to get away, but I was not sure if I wanted to get THAT far away. There is such thing as too little distance, but its opposite is just as uncomfortable: too much distance.
My parents also freaking out about my college search, mostly my dad. He said that I would only be able to come home during winter break and then for summer when the school year was over. True. Did I want that? My brother also chimed in saying that when he was in Florida, he loved it. But he was definitely homesick and mad he did not go to school closer to home. All of what they said makes complete and total sense, but I think that I can handle it. My brother and I are two completely different people. Plus, if I decide that California is not for me, I can come back home after the semester is over and go to Brookdale. Me going to California is not the end of the world, even though my parents would like to believe it is.
The guidance department door opens and there is my mom. She has a visitor’s sticker on. I peel myself up out of the chair, and she and I slowly head into Mrs. Mazza’s office. If I went to school in California, I’d miss my mom, and my dad, my whole family, all my friends, but I think I can handle it. Three out of five of the colleges that I’ll apply to in California, and they are my first three choices. We sit down with Mrs. Mazza and begin to talk.





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