Senior year of high school, everyone is particularly worried about what his or her next move will be. They worry about college applications and acceptances, where their friends are going to school, and what major they may take on in college. I was never the kid who really cared about school, mostly because I wasn’t any good at it, but teachers just let me pass so I could get out of there. When I walked at high school graduation, even my parents were surprised I had made it. When everyone started applying to colleges, I did research into other programs and applied to those as well. I remember the day everyone found out about acceptances from the biggest state school in Florida. I knew I wasn’t getting in, so I stayed home from school that day in shame.
At my high school, there was a big wall in our main loggia that had seniors names and what colleges they were accepted to on it. My name wasn’t on the wall because I hadn’t been accepted anywhere. This was one of the most devastating things for me to see everyday as I went to class. I hated having this feeling that the wall was mocking me with the idea that I would get stuck in my small town, attending community college. That was the last thing I wanted to do.
As the year went on, I applied and waited for many places to accept me, but none of them did. In my typical hide your emotions fashion, I tried to ignore it and forget about the future. I pretended I hadn’t applied to those schools when people asked me if I got in, or lied and said I was deferred until spring. I did anything I could to avoid having to answer the question of what was next for me.
Being surrounded by intelligent and hard working friends, who all got into the schools of their choosing, put me in a rut. I cried many nights while searching the Internet for all different programs that would potentially accept me. When graduation time came around, I still had no idea what I was doing next. All I knew was that I couldn’t stay in my hometown; I had to go somewhere very far away.
During the summer when all my friends went to school, I visited as often as I could. I let myself imagine I was going to be in a similar place soon, and kept all the real feelings I was having bundled up inside me. It was now July and I still had no idea what was next for me.
I continuously felt that I was not good enough. I felt like I would never amount to anything because I had no real skills. There was never a subject in school that stood out to me as something I could do forever. I had no passion or motivation towards anything. I was empty. I didn’t have any friends to talk about this with because none of them were in my situation. None of them had any issue getting into a school and deciding what major they wanted to pursue. They didn’t understand what thoughts ran through my head at all times.
I eventually decided I was going to apply to a community college out of state. I landed on Santa Monica Community college. But with no other friends out there, and a sketchy Craigslist roommate situation, I eventually ended up back living at home for what should have been my first semester of college. Of course I was devastated, but more than that I felt broken and lost. I worked while living at home and saved up enough to eventually move to another city in Florida where my friends were attending school and going to community college there. It wasn’t my first choice but it turned out to be exactly what I needed in life.
Not getting into the school of your choosing, or any school at all isn’t the end of the world. Shit happens but we have to move on. I was hurt. I felt less than compared to everyone else. I thought this failure was it for me. But it wasn’t. I learned that there are other options and ways to decide what to do with your future. It’s okay to take some time off in between if that’s what you think you need. Looking back, it was exactly what I needed. I wasn’t ready to move on and that is okay. Don’t panic about your future immediately, take your time and figure out what it is you want to do. Just because everyone else is going off to college, doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t follow the path that everyone else is taking because it may not be the path for you. It surely wasn’t the path for me and finding that out was one of the most important things I’ve ever done.