After I tore open that big yellow envelope on that fateful day in March, and saw the word “Congratulations,” I exploded into tears – happy tears, of course. But just when I calmed down, caught my breath and wiped my eyes, I saw the word “Spring”’ and burst into tears again – this time, they were not-so-happy tears.
Knowing that I wouldn’t be starting college at the same time as all of my friends was scary and upsetting. I knew that I should have been excited, but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, even cheated.
Would I still be able to make friends? To find my place? To graduate on time? What was I supposed to do for a whole semester? Should I turn down my dream school for one that offered me admission in the fall?
But after finishing up my fall semester, I’ve come to realize that being admitted in the spring was a blessing in disguise. I learned so many lessons and went through so many new experiences that I never would have come across if I’d started school in the fall.
LIVING ON MY OWN
This past semester, I lived at University Gateway, an apartment building right off campus, with three other girls.
With no meal plan, I bought my own groceries and cooked (more like managed to throw together) my own meals. With no Resident Assistant or instruction of any sort, I learned to deal with any issue independently.
I learned through clogged toilets, growing mold and festering food that I actually have to clean my surroundings thoroughly, like with a sponge and some special foam scrub.
And from my free time and the 3,000 miles separating me from my parents and most of my friends, I focused on putting myself out there to meet new people. Most importantly, I also learned to enjoy spending some time with someone who will always be there for me: myself.
Being a spring admit forced me to branch way outside of my comfort zone. I come from a small town in New England, where over 90 percent of the population is white and most people live comfortably, some even luxuriously.
This past semester, I took three classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at Santa Monica College (SMC), a highly-ranked community college.
At SMC, I met just about as many asians and hispanics as I did whites.
I met a girl who was admitted to New York University but had to turn it down for financial reasons and a boy from Maryland who lives on his own and works full-time at a real estate agency. I met a woman three-times my age who was going to school for the first time and a boy who knew everything about gangs.
At SMC, I discovered that there is literally so much more outside of the bubble that was my hometown and my high school. I’d heard about it before and I’ve traveled a bit in my lifetime but until now, I’ve never truly lived in a place where I could see what else is out there.
If you’re here at USC, chances are you worked hard throughout high school. If not, you must have worked hard in some other way.
I worked so hard straight through my four years of high school that I never had time to do so many things.
Being a spring admit and having so much more time than a normal college student allowed me to cross so many of these things off my to-do list.
I had time to explore Southern California in every single way – from getting lost on hikes to cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway to buying books for $1 at The Last Bookstore to doing an overnight trip to Laguna Hills.
I had time to start this blog, to write for other publications and to actually read books for my own pleasure. Most importantly, however, I had time to breathe and realize how grateful I should be for where I am today.
Yes, honestly, sometimes it does suck to be a little behind socially and to live a walk away from all the on-campus happenings. When it does seem to suck, I try my best to remember that I still made it to the school I’ve been dreaming about for years — we all did. And there’s no reason to be anything but thrilled and proud about that.
Anyway, what’s one less semester when I’ve got the whole rest of my life to keep FIGHTING ON! with the Trojan Family?
*Article originally published on: http://dailytrojan.com/2016/01/15/97754/#springadmit2