Monday, April 28, 2008

i wonder if everything could ever feel this real forever

So, I am in a stern mood right now. I intended to take my online French placement test and get it out of the way, but I didn't have my student ID number on any of the college crap I have at my dad's house, and so I failed on that one thanks to poorly-budgeted time. Oh, well. I guess it can be done tomorrow.

Also, I'm in a stern mood because it's Monday, because I'm beat, because it was snowing this morning, because I don't understand why people can't just be more relaxed about things, and because my first AP exam is in a week and I'm terrified of failure. It's a really great combination of annoyances going on. (Alex pointed out this weekend that I really only come in two emotions: regular and annoyed. So true.)

So this is going to be a serious post in which I talk about serious, grown-up things like the first serious, grown-up formal decision I've had to make: Choosing a College.

First of all, there is that whole thing called Getting Into College. I did pretty decently with that one. I applied to nine colleges (eight, initially), which was admittedly insane. I was accepted at seven, canceled an application at one before a final decision came, and was waitlisted, then accepted at another. However, the list of nine colleges I applied to only had three schools in common with my original list of nine colleges. That list was awesome, and looking at it now kind of depresses me. I only really intended to go to maybe three or four of the schools on my final list.

My whole life, I've felt family pressure to go to UW-Madison. My stepdad went there, my mom's entire family is from Madison, and my uncle taught at their law school for a really long time. I, of course, rebelled from this, until I visited the school and really loved it. It was my first choice for a very long time. I knew I would get waitlisted, because there is a pretty grand discrepancy between my class-rank percentile and my standardized-test-score percentile, and it's pretty clear that I could have been trying way harder the past three years, so I wasn't shocked or sad to get waitlisted.

It's probably a good thing I was waitlisted, because in the time of my postponed application, a lot of things happened with my family that made me decide, at the last minute, to apply to St. Norbert College. SNC is located in my mother's backyard. Every Sunday, my family goes to church at the campus parish. My father and all his siblings were forced into going there by my grandfather. (If you knew my dad, you might think he would pressure me into going to SNC, but, once I wanted to go to Madison, he stopped wanting me to go there and changed his allegiance to Marquette.) And none of them felt fondly about this, except for, ironically, the black sheep of the family.

Anyway, during that time, I also realized a lot of things about myself. I realize that I have some pretty awesome warped Catholic guilt going that makes me constantly feel responsible for the choices and actions of others. Madison probably would do bad things to this Catholic guilt. I also realized that I had declared the totally wrong major. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life involved in education, so I declared a secondary education major. Then I realized that the same things I hate about being a high school student would still be present if I were working in a high school. Then I remembered the concept of this fantastic thing called graduate school, where you are encouraged to be the nerdy and overly cerebral person you are in complete and full force. And then, once you're done being a student, you can work at college. This was a way better plan, I decided.

So that changed things a little bit. Now I had to decide which of my schools had good English programs, and not education programs. This did not narrow out any of the schools I already loved, and that was a problem. So I made my decision based on things like time and money, and not location. Location is a forgivable variable, time and money are more important to me, to be perfectly honest.

I think everyone thought I would end up somewhere completely different for college. I hear that a lot. "Why did I think you were going to school in Boston? Maybe I could just see you there or something." And "You seem like that girl who would go 400 miles away for college." I still am that girl, I'll still probably end up 400 miles away. But right now, I have to put away being that girl for the sake of my family, my bank account, my career goals, and my life expectancy. And those comments put me on the defensive, make me feel like people think I am making the wrong decision, and I am not. And sometimes I feel like I need to defend myself, like to people who should know me better, and other times, I do not, because I just don't care.

Realistically, I get to do this whole college-choosing thing all over again (hopefully: in three years.) So I didn't get to do the exact perfect thing I wanted this time, but, really, if college were exactly perfect, it would definitely not involve math courses. Also, with all my divorced-kid carting myself from here to there, I'm adaptable enough that I would be happy at nearly any college, and, since I'm not going to be totally miserable, I don't really care if I'm not the absolute happiest I'm ever going to be. I'm happy enough with my decision, and I think it's a decision that will pay off so much more nicely in the end.

God, this is really boring, I'm sure. I guess I just wanted to put it out there, and explain, or something.

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