Stepping onto the rain soaked sidewalk and looking up at the cobblestone buildings made me rethink my college experience. I’ve always been a “Cali Girl”, but once I looked around at the Oregon trees looking down on me like they had every other college hopeful in the past years, my heart raced, I was supposed to be there.
My story starts where every senior’s starts, looking for colleges. I was all set to go to a college that was near the beach and close to home. I filled out the applications and sent them in to Long Beach State. Of course I wanted to be near my friends so I would ask them where they were applying, what was their major, etc. Then one of my friends told me he wasn’t applying to many CA colleges, which got me thinking maybe I would look at other colleges, just to see what was out there.
I’m not sure how I came upon University of Oregon, maybe fate, but what caught my attention was their theater majors. I loved what I had read but I still wasn’t sure on the distance and of course the weather was an issue. So in January when I was almost positive that I wanted to go to that school, my mother and I went on the college tour they offered. I fell in love with the campus because of its cleanliness and environmental consciousness, nice people, (nicer than California people), and to my surprise, the weather. I loved it there and the atmosphere, to me, was what I had been looking for all along. I couldn’t believe that I found happiness in a place where for 4 months out of the year it’s dreary and bleak because of all the rain.
I began realizing that my college experience is supposed to be about me, not how far away from my parents I am or where my friends are going. I don’t need the warm beach to be happy and I will meet new people in college. My new adventures are waiting for me in a place I never imagined myself going, which really excites me.
Now people ask me where I am headed in the fall, and when I tell them they all look at me in disbelief. “Yes I am going to University of Oregon!” They think I am weird because I’m the “desert rat” heading to a cold rainy place. Well I think they’re weird for not wanting to explore and gain new perspectives from different people around the country. Not wanting that and settling for something small scares me now that I’m going to get to experience new surroundings and new challenges in life. I believe in expanding your horizons, and I am an Oregon Duck!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.