Higher powers will point to the right college decision

By By: Slimey the Worm (Eric Levin)

It was supposed to be an easy decision—choosing a college. But it actually turned out to be a little complicated, and more of a nuisance than I had originally thought.

Sure, I could have visited the schools before I applied to them. I could have read up on them more. I could have ranked them by preference before I even started to receive acceptance letters. But those things take time—time that could more easily be spent sleeping. Time that was more easily spent sleeping.

So I sent applications to eight schools based on the most basic surface impressions of them, coupled with the insightful advice I gained from blogs, such as, “this school rocks,” followed by three exclamation points.

The price I paid for not doing thorough research was dissatisfaction when I finally got around to visiting the schools: I established love/hate relationships with them, noticing qualities I liked and disliked about each one, none of which were shared.

I faced an important, life-changing (which made it even more unsolvable) decision: what did I value most? And I did not know the answer.

If I say I value the prestige, am I doing it for an educational challenge, or, as my father refers to it, the sex appeal? If I choose a school with a more tranquil atmosphere, am I looking out for my personal needs, or chickening out of immersing myself in a more challenging environment? Should I allow a factor as trivial as the dorms influence my decision? Or are the decisions I considered trivial really vital to my personal growth?
Nothing prepared me for this decision. I never before truly considered what I valued, nor had I ever put that much thought into life after I graduate from CHS.

I made four pro/con T-charts for the schools. That did not work. I used a complex mathematical formula based on a priority ranking system. That did not work either—namely because it required me to come up with a priority ranking.

May 1 was approaching fast, and I knew that I wanted to take time with my decision, to double check the integrity of the institutions I was considering, and to analyze the earnestness of the individuals I would be involved with. So I picked two schools and double deposited.
When I say I tried everything to try to reach a decision, I mean I tried everything. I spun a Twister spinner with each color designating a different college. I flipped a penny.

What I was searching for was a sign, such as spilling a drink that would form the letters of the school I was destined to attend. One person I know going to Emerson College factored into her decision how a song that had been stuck in her head was played during that school’s open house.
Last year, another friend, hitherto set on attending a particular university, changed his mind after going to an overnight at his second choice school. What happened to change his mind? Was it an encounter with a particular professor? A club or organization? The academics? Close…but it was, in fact, a game of strip poker played in his dorm room.

But since none of these signs occurred at any of my open houses, I had to resort to a more rational factor to influence my decision—my horoscope, which played an integral role in my college decision making process, as I am sure it has for everyone.

I had pre-postmarked my enrollment deposit to New York University on May 1, but refrained from mailing it because I was shying away from the sheer size of the city and the expensive cost. Monday morning, when I had to decide whether to send the deposit off, I opened the Washington Post to read my horoscope: “Maybe you feel somewhat shy, but…if it makes your heart beat faster and you feel like running the other way, that’s a good sign. Run toward your fear and you’ll get over it.”

It was as if Lifestyle columnist Holiday Mathis knew exactly what I was thinking! So I sent the deposit straight off.

As of now, I am still finalizing my decision. I know some students are looking forward to college and the opportunity to finally free themselves from the reign of their parents. I, for one, have assured my mother that I will call her once a month wherever I go. Other students are more hesitant about leaving home and leaving friends. I find myself torn between the two. There are many things that I will miss when I leave for college.

But, at the same time, college is a time for rebirth and discovery. And for those worrying about making friends, I have a foolproof way of starting things off grandly with your roommate. Simply fish through your bags, and ask if he/she has seen your gastrointestinal medication. Then tell your roommate that you look forward to spending the year with him/her, grab the seat of your pants with both hands and run to the bathroom.