Being College Bound
I remember being in eighth grade at my grandparents’ house when they suddenly asked me, “Marissa, where do you want to go to college?”
At the time, I just shrugged and replied, “UCLA, I guess,” because that was the only college I really knew of.
Now, five years later, after applying to 12 colleges all around the country, getting accepted by nine, rejected by two, and wait-listed by one, I know way too much about college. It has been a long, tedious, nerve-wracking and exhausting journey, but I’m finally going to college this fall.
Back in eighth grade, college seemed so far off. It was something that “other people” had to go through, but not me. I was young. As I entered my freshman, then sophomore, then junior, years of high school, my parents would always bug me about college. In my sophomore year, they even signed me up for a program called College Made Easy. I had to attend these classes once every few months that taught me how to get into college (the program also did my FAFSA for me which, after hearing the nightmare stories from my friends who had to do the FAFSA all by themselves, was a pretty sweet deal).
After four years of hearing, “Marissa, think about college,” senior year was upon me and I actually had to think about college. I remember around this time last summer someone on Facebook posted, “The Common App is out, guys; summer is over.” And it was.
All throughout first semester of senior year, I had to write my personal statement, edit my personal statement at least three times, fill out at least five different college applications, write five supplements (like mini personal statements for specific colleges), engage in clubs, and make sure my grades didn’t drop. It was exhausting. I don’t think I ever hated the thought of college more than my first semester of senior year in high school.
Everything got better once March rolled around and I started getting acceptances to colleges. I had applied mostly to out-of-state private schools in the Midwest and most people I knew applied to Cal States and UCs. It was fun getting all the acceptances from those schools, but it wasn’t fun explaining to friends (and adults) where the schools were that accepted me.
The reason I chose schools so far away was because I had family in the Midwest (most notably in Ohio) so I wanted to spend time with family I rarely saw. One of the schools I applied to was Oberlin College; it was only an hour away from my grandparents’ house, had less people than CV High School, and is one of the best liberal arts schools in the country. It was my dream school. Sadly, of the two rejections I received, one of them was from Oberlin. It was like a slap in the face; after all these acceptances, I got one rejection and it was from the one place I really wanted to go.
I believe that something good comes from every hardship. Next to Oberlin, there was another college I was extremely interested in – Otterbein University. It’s another small liberal arts college, this one outside of Columbus, Ohio (the state’s capitol). After the Oberlin rejection, I looked at Otterbein more closely and found that it was a perfect fit for me. The class sizes were fairly small (averaging 16 students per class) and the surrounding area reminded me a lot of La Crescenta (considering I was moving 2,000 miles away from home, anything that could remind me of it was a good deal). So, that’s how I ended up enrolling in Otterbein for the fall.
It’ll be hard moving so far away from home. I’ve lived in La Crescenta my whole life. My mom said she’s “very excited, but sad for the family because we’re going to miss you.”
I’m not only leaving my family, but my best friends, too. Sometimes when one of my best friends, Kelly Arnett, and I talk to each other, she’ll say, “I’m going to miss you so much, man. I don’t know what I’m going to do when you leave.” Frankly, I don’t really know what I’ll do when I leave either. I’ll be going to an unknown place called college on Aug. 13 and I’m pretty nervous. However, I know that even if I’m 2,000 miles away from everything I’ve ever known, I can always come back to it.
La Crescenta will still be here even as I open a new chapter in my life.
Marissa Gould has been an intern for Crescenta Valley Weekly for the last year, writing stories about her hometown. We wish her well as she heads off to college.