Posted by Wafa K. | Posted on March 29, 2011
Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.
It is undoubtedly easy for me to speak casually about college admissions decisions, not only because my experience was relatively painless, but also because it seems so very long ago that any notion of anxiety seems simply an intellectual matter. I don’t remember what it felt like to wait for those emails, or to open the packages, to tell my family about the decisions – I remember the actions, but not necessarily how I felt. Despite that, I do feel a twinge of excitement every time decision time at Hopkins comes around because I know that it’ll be another round of families who are made immeasurably proud, it’ll be the beginning of a journey that is difficult to describe and even harder to predict, and the new freshmen that show up every year are even more impressive that the group that preceeded them.
You may feel like you have no control over the decisions that will be coming your way, but to be honest, the thing that you do have control over is what you make of the situation. Choosing a college to attend is often a see-saw process full of research, asking a million questions, family talks and input from people you trust – but ultimately, it is you who will make the decision and who will attend that school for four years. What you make of your college experience is entirely in your hands, whether it is your dream school or a school that didn’t expect would even be on your list. There are some people at Hopkins that I know would not choose to come here again, and there are, more, people that would choose to come back in an instant – the difference often lies in their approach to experiences. Attitude is often key.
One of my favorite stories is that of a 92 year old man, who was legally blind, having to move into a nursing home after his wife of 70 years passed away. As the nurse takes him into his new room and begins to describe the surroundings, the man says “I love it” with enthusiasm. The nurse says “Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.” To which the man responds with wisdom that comes with having lived a full life, “That doesn’t have anything to do with it. Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it is how I arrange my mind. i already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficult I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.”
The idea that you can decide for yourself to set a mindset of happiness and having a good experience is powerful especially in choosing a college because no matter how much research you do or how many current students you speak to, you will not really know what it is like going to a school until you attend. And so, the best we can do is make the best choice possibly based on the resources that are abundantly provided to you, especially from Hopkins. College acceptance may mark an extremely happy and anxious period in your life, but do keep it in perspective, because as Pericles said, time is the wisest counsellor of all.
Because this post made me reflect on my decision days, these pictures of my hometown seemed appropriate.
All the best, and good luck to all applicants on your college decisions!