It was March 31st, the day that my potential college’s decisions were to be released. I sat frozen in front of my computer, waiting for the online portal to give me the green light to see what my fate was going to be. I had been rejected by Barnard three days before, and the last three schools I’d applied to were just a few minutes away from rejecting me as well. I glanced down at the letter from the other school I’d applied to: Fordham University at Lincoln Center; my safe school. Thinking nothing of it, I stared down my computer screen one last time before the portal said the magic words: Check Your Decision Here.
My heart raced and I fumbled with the track pad, trying desperately to monitor three tabs in Google chrome. Columbia University was a no. I tried not to be disappointed and closed the tab only to be confronted by yet another decision. Harvard was also a no. Fighting back tears I closed that tab as well. My heart dropped when I saw the open portal for Brown; my dream school.
I visited Brown when I was a rising junior in high school. My brother (a recent Columbia graduate) had told me to pick the schools I’d wanted to visit and figure out when I wanted to go. Knowing I wanted to be in a city school, I immediately starting going through the plethora of college emails I’d been receiving since January to find schools. I drifted around different college websites and lost myself in words I didn’t understand, like concentration and CORE, until finally deciding on six schools: BU, BC, Columbia, Barnard, NYU, and Fordham.
We would leave my home in rural New Jersey on August 10th, come back on August 19th and by then, I was going to have my dream school picked out. While I prepped questions for the information sessions I knew would follow, my brother called and told me that I should visit Brown (a school I only knew because Emma Watson went there). After some bickering over timing and location, I finally said yes and we signed up for the tour and info session on that Thursday.
Brown ended up being the first school I ever visited, and I immediately fell in love. To me, everything was perfect. The campus felt like a real college campus. They had a mall ten minutes away, their CORE was very minimal and gave me room to explore my options, the tour guides were amazing and helpful, I could go on for hours really, but I knew what it was. I’d found my perfect school! The rest of our college visiting continued on and I couldn’t help but be bored. BU seemed too stuck up for my taste, I didn’t like football enough to go to BC, and the NYC visits were rescheduled for another month. All I cared about was getting into Brown University.
Fast-forward a year when I received an email from Fordham offering me a fee waiver for their Early Action program. I shrugged and began my application; it was my safe school and I figured a free application couldn’t hurt. After a lot of crying and aggravation with my common app, I finally finished my essay and contacted my counselor to get everything together. My first college application was in and I was wrought with fear. December 15th I received my decision. I was accepted into the Fordham Class of 2019. My parents were excited and made sure to mention it on Facebook at least five times that week. I posted an Instagram photo and forgot about it.
Now, back to March 31st. I stared at my computer, finger hovering over the track pad. I had to see my decision even though I knew what it was. A small part of me held onto the hope that maybe I was wrong and my dream would come true, but as I tenderly clicked the link in the portal, I knew what was going to happen. Unlike my other rejections, this one didn’t hurt. I immediately sobered up and wiped the tears from my eyes. I sat down on my bed and stared up at the band posters looking at me expectantly. I reached over to find my phone on my end table and brushed my hand on a paper – my acceptance letter from Fordham. Fordham Class of 2019 wasn’t sounding too bad anymore.
The nice thing about getting rejected from every school you applied to except for one, is that you don’t have to worry about deciding. Even so, I still wonder what I could’ve done in high school that could have gotten me into Brown or Barnard. I kick myself at night for not studying for my SATs when I knew that I should’ve, or for missing homework assignments in my English classes. But when I really think about it, I know why it worked like that. I am in love with Fordham. Despite the construction outside of my dorm window at 3 am or the thermostat that keeps going up to 81 for no reason, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. I’m at my real dream school now, and sometimes I forget that I didn’t want to go here. It’s funny how these things work.
Feature image source: career-intelligence.com and themash.com
Kelty Lonergan is a undergraduate freshman at Fordham University studying Music Education. She loves writing and is currently drafting a novel. She also loves puppies, music, and Star Wars.