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The Big Decision

There's no decision like choosing which college to go to, columnist Madison Dockter writes.

The Big Decision

If there is anything in the world that is more oppressive, stressful, or frightening than deadlines, let me know.

As a senior in high school, I have made it through twelve years of homework due dates and project deadlines. Plenty of adults can attest to an intense phobia of deadlines, especially during tax filing season. Now, however, I realize the most important date in a 17-year-old’s life, the one that is highlighted, italicized, and underlined on the calendar, is May 1, also known as National Candidates Reply Date for entering college.

One year ago I was a high school junior working my way through AP tests and thinking college was a lifetime away. Then, last September, I realized that my college decision, quite possibly the biggest decision of my life thus far, was approaching much faster than I liked. After hours of researching, comparing schools and having various mental breakdowns, I made my decision to attend Drake University. I feel extremely fortunate that it only took around five months to feel confident enough to send in a tuition deposit. Unfortunately, that cannot be said for everyone.

A friend of mine is infamous for being virtually the last person in our entire class to make a college decision. A prospective engineering major, he has to make the grueling decision between two excellent schools that have few comparable qualities, aside from engineering programs. This poor fellow sought the advice of friends, flipped coins, asked fortune-tellers, and even posted a poll on Facebook. Through a sad twist of fate or sheer coincidence, all of his efforts have received 50-50 results. His parents told him to make a decision by Easter. What is this boy to do? If the College Muses don’t step in soon, he’ll have to worry about another thing: The state of his mental health.

Should the decision to attend a certain college be this stressful and time-consuming? The obvious answer appears to be yes. In order to succeed, we have to find the “right” school, the school that fits our wants and needs.

The real deciding factor, however, is why we are continuing our education in the first place. College is meant to expand our minds, to help us form new relationships and to assist us in becoming more involved members of society.

The name of the school has nothing to do with success; rather, it is passion, motivation and hard work that get you where you’re going in life. Choose an environment that you can flourish in, and you will have made the right choice. If you do end up making the wrong choice, don’t fret: That’s what transfer applications are for.

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