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!