It’s ok to change your mind when it comes to college

By: Hayley Lomas

What I’ve learned throughout the college admission process is that no matter where you end up, it’ll all turn out okay. Regardless of the school, you choose- or even if you decide to attend college- everything you want to accomplish is still possible. Making the choice to attend a college seems intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple!

Before I buckled down and made my first tuition payments, my mind was all over the place. I was already leaving high school a year early, and heading straight to a university. Part of me was ready to leave the nest of a small town- and make a name for myself in the real world, but part of me was a nervous reck! I had no idea where I would end up, and before I got an acceptance letter, I felt like giving up. Without the structure of high school to tell me what to do, I had to actually make my own decisions. The first one I made was deciding that college was my next step to achieve mydreams.

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It’s hard to try to find purpose- life’s purpose. A college major. It’s not as serious as it sounds. While it’s a good thing to keep in mind and to keep exploring until it’s found, a major is just a trivial matter that can be changed. Fortunately, I sort of knew what I wanted to spend my life doing, and while that may change down the line, taking things one step at a time seems the least stressful. No one has their life mapped out! Change is normal and ultimately inevitable. My second decision was to be open to new possibilities.

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I only applied to the University of Southern California, the University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University. The only school I was accepted to was Drexel, and while I was super bummed that I wasn’t spending my days in Southern California lounging around the beach, I was excited to be in the city! When the time came to take out a student loan, I froze. I’d be paying over150,000 dollars through a 25-year payment plan (after attending for 5 years with a co-op). My third decision was to keep my dreams in the back of my head but to think realistically.

Attending community college, and transferring to a nearby university was my safest bet. Starting off at a community college wasn’t in my initial plan, and didn’t seem as glamorous as my original, but I wouldn’t be spending years and years trappedby student debt. I’ve personally seen first hand the dangers of having a gargantuan amount of debt; I’m terrified to be in a position where all of my income would go straight to the lenders, and to have little financial freedom. This isn’t something most incoming freshman think too much about, and unless you have the money to ball out and head out to Harvard, then by all means. But in my situation, after visually seeing my life mapped out in front of me- for 25 years– I needed to settle for the cheapest route. My fourth decision was to pinch my pennies.

All of these decisions narrowed my options down to the cheapest way to achieve my dreams. If you don’t have any clue as to what your dreams are, then maybe a gap year would help, or joining the military, or maybe even going into college with an undeclared major. But just know that whatever route you decide to take, that making your dreams come to life will always be possible.

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