05/15/2013 10:13 am ET Updated Jul 15, 2013

At Journey's End -- And Beginning


This is part of our monthly series 'Mission: Accepted,' in partnership with Minds Matter, which chronicles the lives of four students as they apply for college in their senior year.

After years of preparation, it's time to move on to the next stage of my life: college. Throughout the month of April, more acceptances and rejections trickled in. After deferring me, Harvard showed me the door -- the exit door. Columbia and Brown did too. I received no love from the Ivies, but I wasn't the only one: This year, the acceptance rates at these schools got even lower. Wellesley and Georgetown also denied me, and I was wait-listed at Bowdoin.

These rejections hurt, but I got the last laugh, with acceptances to Boston College, Northeastern, UMASS Amherst, Smith, Providence, Amherst College, and Williams. I played the college game, and I won some and lost some, but I am happy with the outcome. I now had some great schools to choose from, but I could only go to one.

With the school year winding down, I've had time to reflect and really think about what I want in a college. I attend a small charter school, where my graduating class is a total of 35 students. Because of this, I focused my college search on big universities. I was sure I wanted to attend a large, urban school -- but somewhere along the way that changed. When I thought about it, I realized that I actually love that everyone knows my name; I love the relationships I was able to build with my teachers. I like my small community and want to go to a school that reflects it. That was confirmed when I attended the Williams Previews, an overnight stay for accepted students. Everyone on campus waved to one another and most of the students knew each other. At a big school, it would be difficult to get to know everyone in my graduating class. But Williams felt like a family.

The college is located in a small western Massachusetts town called Williamstown. The beautiful campus is surrounded by the Berkshire Mountains, which at a certain time of day look almost purple. I'm from Boston, -- a city girl. I like skyscrapers, not mountains -- or so I thought. As I made the three-hour trek to the school, tall buildings morphed into tall mountains and trees. "I'm not in Kansas anymore," I thought. As we inched closer and closer to Williams, my eyes slowly got used to the landscape, and I grew fond of the view. I love that the campus is immersed in nature; it creates a very relaxing atmosphere.

An admissions counselor and Williams alum named Sulgi drove me to campus with two other students. On the trip, Sulgi talked about her experiences as a student there, and I started to fall in love with the school. One of the stories that struck me was about a friend of hers from Williams who moved to Hong Kong after college. He was sitting in a restaurant and noticed that a woman kept looking at him. Finally, she walked up to him and asked, "Do you go to Williams?" She had noticed his flip-flops, which were purple and said "Williams" on them. The woman was a current student who was studying abroad. Even in a far-off place like Hong Kong, Williams people find each other. Sulgi also mentioned how another Williams alum had chased her down in a parking lot because he had seen the Williams sticker on her car. I loved these stories. They really showed how the Williams experience doesn't just stop when you graduate.

I attended a U.S. history class where the professor and students bounced ideas back and forth. The discussion was lively and at times really intense. Each student added a new perspective. I also attended a concert at which many a cappella groups sang. There were also spoken-word performances that were amazing, and the dance groups were phenomenal -- the Latin and African groups were among my favorites.

I came. I saw. I loved. After spending two nights at Williams, I knew that I had found my home. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. There was a sense of community, bonds of friendship everywhere I turned. Everyone greeted each other, and if they didn't know each other personally, they at least knew of one another through mutual friends or clubs. I loved the Williams family! I loved the classes and the friendly atmosphere. I could see myself immersed in this community, and in the fall, I will be. I can now proudly say that I am officially an Eph!