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Sweat beads form at the top of my forehead, threatening to make their suicidal jump over the lower portion of my face. Nervous as could be, my thoughts swirled like the mad winds blowing out the power lines back in Minnesota. I was sitting, patiently and silently, waiting for the overly zealous lady to quit spurting out facts about the school. It’s MEA, freshman year, and where am I? I’m in North Carolina, touring the third college of the weekend. The enthusiastic admissions counselor in charge of this hour-long information session slowly makes her way across the dozens of faces listening attentively.
“Welcome to UNC Chapel Hill, we’re really glad you came, we will start with everyone introducing themselves.” The cheerful counselor exclaims.
“Hi, I’m Sophie from London and I’m a senior,” One nervous girl mumbled, and then the next victim was chosen.
“And you, ma’am?” She questions, looking me in the eye. The southern formality alone is refreshingly new for me, a Minnesotan.
“My name is Allison, I’m from Orono, Minnesota, and I am a freshman.” The room pauses a beat, and then another.
“Well, you definitely are motivated!” The room I can see is surprised by my age, and I suddenly feel self-conscious.
Comments even float around after my sister, a sophomore, introduces herself. Everyone discloses where they are from and what area they intend to study. People have come from around the globe to be a part of the temperate climate in North Carolina. I hear a range of accents float about the room, including one from Scotland and another from Australia. The diversity is a pleasant surprise verses the similitude at my high school.
After the introduction everyone eases their knotted shoulders and watches a brief power point about the campus and requirements for admission which were surprisingly entertaining. It included a thorough description of the campus as well as detailed requirements pertaining to the application process. Requirements expected to be completed before applying were listed that were very beneficial for a freshman in high school to know. It also included other information like the benefits of early enrollment. I was then given brochures about the college that were exhaustingly overwhelming. Finally we started to get to the more enjoyable portion, the tour.
Tours are beneficial for many reasons. You get to see if you can picture yourself living on the campus and ask questions directly to the college student leading you around. I could imagine working out at the new extravagant fitness activity center and eating my meals at the food court with endless options of mouthwatering restaurants and adorable coffee shops The realization then hit me.
“It’ll be only a couple of years until you’ll be out of the house and in college,” my parents sighed.
“I know I’m so excited, I can’t wait to move somewhere where it isn’t freezing half of the year,” I say trying to hide my fear.
The truth about college is, like most things, when you first think about it you think “Wow, finally out of the house, freedom at last.” Yet when you keep thinking about it, you start to feel a little stressed.
“I better get good grades! What is an ACT?” I frantically think.
Rarely do I think about the basic things that I’ll need for college. The biggest concern that bounced around my head was the transition of actually having to grow up.
“Here we have one of our dorm rooms; you will live here with one other arbitrarily chosen student. This is where you can study, sleep, and do most of your homework. The room is small, but once you have a set schedule of when you each get the room it won’t be that big of an issue.” Our tour guide told us. The tiny room consisted of a bunk-bed, a desk, and barely any room for anything else.
You could see many jaws drop as we all crammed into the ten by ten dorm room. The dorms concluded our tour leaving me and my sister in a sense of unease. Coming from a home with our own room and not being able to fathom sharing such a tiny space even with each other.
Ideas and views change throughout life, yet there are few comparisons to the transformation that has happened to me throughout college hunting. My perception of needed supplies and privacy were demented, not realizing how privileged life can be. I’ve recently discovered that although I have traveled to different places around the world, my view on many things are one sided. Ideas such as every community is like Orono, and that everyone will always know their future is not reality. That diversity differs immensely in different places and that I have only begun to experience life.