Not everybody can attend their first choice, or “dream” school. It’s just the way it is.
I wasn’t accepted into my first choice college, and I couldn’t afford to go to my second choice school. That left me with my backup, my last choice, my “safety school.”
Don’t get my wrong, my school is great. It’s a small private university with a great education, a beautiful campus, and a loving community of students and faculty. For me though, it was the end of the world. My safety school was my local university, I had spent my entire life in this town and this was the college that I have been going to on field trips since I was in elementary school. Did I want to spend the next 4 years that are supposed to be the “best years of my life” there? No. I wanted to get out. I wanted to travel, live on my own, meet new people (I still have classes with people who I’ve known since 5th grade..) and grow.
But I had no choice. I had to go to my safety school. My backup plan. My last choice.
At the time, it was the end of the world. Now, as I am starting my 3rd year at this school, I think that this school is exactly what I needed.
Ready to accept the fact that you aren’t going to your first choice school and get excited about where you are going? Here’s how to get excited about attending your safety school.
Let’s do this.
Understand That You are Allowed to be Happy.
It’s so hard to feel ok attending a school that isn’t your first choice when you’re surrounded by social media. Around decision time, it’s impossible to avoid it.
Tweets from your best friend about how she is so #blessed and thrilled to be attending a school halfway across the country, YouTube videos of that girl in your English class opening her acceptance letter to her dream school and crying, Instagram pictures of that guy on the football team signing a contract with a big university team out of state, Facebook posts from your school’s valedictorian sharing how they will be going to a great ivy league school in the Fall… of course you’re excited for them, but it’s so hard to feel like you’re even allowed to be excited for your future.
You are. You deserve that moment too.
No, you aren’t able to go to your first choice college, and that is ok. There is nothing wrong with you.
Guess what? That’s over. Take a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s over. There is nothing you can do about it, it is behind you.
Now guess what? You are going to be attending a great school! Breathe that in.
I’m going to be honest with you: This feeling might not go away completely for a long time. I still struggle with the fact that I wasn’t accepted into my first choice school. Thinking about it gives me a twist in my stomach and makes me feel sad. But I know there’s nothing I can do and that there are better things I can spend my energy on. You’ll get there. It might not happen right away, but it will happen.
Shout it From the Rooftops.
You’ve decided, you know where you’re going to school. You’re going to college!!!! That’s so awesome!!
Tell your family. Call your great Aunt. Text your friends. Post it on Facebook.
You might be embarrassed that you didn’t get into your dream school, or that you can’t attend it for other reasons, don’t worry there is no reason to share that if you don’t want to.
That can be our little secret.
Unless you feel comfortable sharing it, then by all means do what makes you happy.
Stock Up on Gear.
Honestly once I got a sweatshirt with my school’s name on it, it got me 100x more excited about going there.
Go to your campus’ bookstore or online store. Get a sweatshirt. Get a t-shirt. Get your dad a mug. Get your mom a “___ University Mom” bumper sticker. Get a pennant for your room. Soak it in. Soak it all in. School spirit.
Wear the shirt around town, wear it to your last few weeks at high school, proudly tell your friends where you are going. Smile when people say congratulations.
Get Ready to Get Involved.
Another effective way to help get excited about attending your school is to get ready to get involved on campus.
Become an active part in the student body.
Chances are that your school has a website and on that website there is a list of on campus student run organizations or clubs that you can join. Look them up.
Browse through the clubs, the Greek organizations, the sports teams. Find ones you might want to join. Contact club presidents, team coaches, anyone you can get in contact with. Let them know that you’re an incoming student and you would love to hear more about their organization. I’m sure they would be more than excited to tell you all about it!
Pro tip: Check out your school’s Her Campus chapter, and if they don’t have one consider starting one!
(aka: light stalking)
Now that you’ve checked out the clubs and organizations on campus.. delve a little bit deeper. Bring up the school’s website. What are you interested in majoring in? Check out their page or website, learn about the professors, read into some of the cool classes that you can take.. all things academics (after all, you are here for an education.)
Look at the residence life section of their website. Find pictures of the residence halls and dorm rooms, where are you going to be living? Start mentally planning what your room will look like, let’s be honest… that’s a lot of fun.
Meet Other Students.
If your school is anything like mine was, there is going to be at least one “Class of 20__” group on Facebook.
My university made one themselves and automatically added everybody to it. Then, another student made a more private one where we could all connect without administrators watching and invited everybody from the first group to it.
This is where I met the girls who I requested to be my Freshman year roommates… over our love for Disney of all things. Being able to reach out and get to know some of the people who I would be spending the next 4 years with was a great feeling for me.
Put yourself out there. Join the long train of annoying introduction posts, comment on other posts, message the girl who started the group (pro tip: she will have the most connections!) and start a conversation. They’re just as nervous as you are.
Allow Yourself to Get Excited.
You did it. You’re attending college. That is something that a lot of people don’t do.
At the end of the day, the University is just a name on a degree. Meaningless. What matters is what you do with it.
Cheesy time, ready? These next 4 years are what you make of it. Do you want to go into it unhappy with where you’re going, or do you want to go into it optimistic and open to possibilities? The choice is yours.
Get Organized for the Year Ahead
Ready to jump in? Starting college can be a big transition, especially academically. I’ve created a free 5 day e-mail course to help you out. Everything that you need to start off your college years right, in 5 simple days. Check it out: