I’m going to community college, and that’s okay

I applied to 10 schools total. I was rejected from 4, accepted at 2, and waitlisted at the remaining 4.

Last Friday I received the letter of financial assistance from the private college in Boston I was accepted at. They offered a scholarship and many grants but the rest of the expenses would have to be covered. After 4 years I’d essentially be $50,000 in debt, with 10 years to pay it all off. To top it off I live with a single mom who’s already paid for her two children’s Ivy League educations.

At first I was adamant on sending my SIR to the college and deal with the consequences later. I felt entitled. After all, I worked my ass off for the past 4 years and dealt with my fair share of crap at home. I took AP and honors courses. I volunteered as an underclassman, ran track for a bit, found my niche in journalism. I lost sleep, sometimes my sanity, and my social life. I loved learning, but the ultimate goal was to get out of here.

For the past week I’ve been presented with two extremes: go to school on the other side of the country and accumulate debt or dismiss my hard work in high school to stay home for 2 years and transfer someplace later. Meanwhile I offered words of reassurance to friends on the fence between this UC or that UC.

I romanticized Boston life and independence for a while. Then it sunk in bit by bit that I’d constantly be working to pay off loans. I would hardly be able to socialize if I was trying to save every penny. I would be studying constantly, focused solely on securing a job after graduation in order to pay off loans as well. True, I’d be surrounded by city lights and yes I would have abundant opportunities to see new places and faces. Ultimately, however, I’d be miserable.

I’ve been learning to trust my gut instincts lately, and it tells me that I won’t be able to come home at most 2 times per year.

On the other hand, if I were to stay in Sunnyvale for 2 years I’d be in the same state as the majority of people I care the most about. This was the major deciding factor in my final choice.

It’s been hard. Actually it aches like hell, but I’m steadily coming to terms with the fact that this is the practical decision that I will be happier with in the long run. I’m also looking forward to adventures with other amazing people who are also staying in the area :D. I’m just overjoyed at having a clearer vision of what I’m doing next. Life is good, and not having to care as much about finals or AP exams helps, too.

Things that make one’s heart beat faster

  • an unexpected “Hello”
  • an anticipated “Hello”
  • the ridiculously loud noise of a flushing toilet in the middle of the night
  • the ridiculously loud noise of a printer in the middle of the night
  • creaking floorboards
  • my brother’s sleep talk
  • heavy footsteps
  • vivid daydreams
  • vivid nightmares (once I dreamed that Voldemort killed my family and I woke up in tears)
  • the sound of glass breaking
  • photos I thought I would never see again
  • beautiful writing
  • when an office aide brings in a note and you want it to be for you
  • the sound of a balloon popping
  • close proximity to loved ones
  • that moment right before you give a speech
  • car honks
  • certain faces
  • certain voices
  • arguing
  • impending doom
  • running

On judging

My 13-year-old brother is on the fence about joining colorguard (“I did a double spin on the first try!”). I’ve been encouraging him not necessarily to go ahead and break stereotypes, though that’d be pretty awesome, but to do what he feels most comfortable with.

He paced around the kitchen the other day for a while until he said, “Brenda, if my friends judge me, that means they’re not my friends, right?”

I responded, “Your friends have a right to judge you but what’s more important is what they do with that judgement. Real friends will accept and love you unconditionally no matter what they think of you.”

Or something like that except less eloquent and with more “uhh’s.”

Everyone judges everyone else to some degree. We make perceptions and we draw conclusions. It’s human. Don’t believe the person who claims he’s nonjudgmental. Better yet, judge him.

I’m sure people judge me all the time. “Who does she think she is, wearing wrecked shoes. What an overachiever. What an underachiever. What a flake. What a sorry case. What a bitch.”

I’m pretty judgmental, too. “She’s so stuck up I’d like to hit her in the head with a hammer. This teacher is to incompetent I swear we’re all getting dumber. I can’t believe this guy even passed first grade. She is totally in denial.”

I even judge books by their covers. I don’t trust poorly designed books.

I’m going to judge you, too, reader. If you’re like most people my age you have some degree of special-snowflake syndrome. You most likely think you are a decent, friendly, somewhat interesting, maybe mildly funny or smart and inherently good human being. You’re probably the kind of person who would be puzzled if anyone ever disliked you. If anyone did/does, that’s their problem because you are fantastic you. If only judgmental people knew the real you, they would understand.

Well, very few people have time to understand. Anyway, to be great is to be misunderstood.

You can’t force people to wait until you’ve proven yourself worthy of their approval. Judgement Day is every day. You are who you are now.

I say exercise, but be responsible with, your power of judgement.Some use it as fodder for gossip or as a means of steering clear of people they’d rather not associate with. Some use it as encouragement to make a new friend. Some use it hatefully to boost their own egos. You can use yours to help someone out.

As for what others think, no vale un pepino. Take it or leave it, but never over-analyze. The absolute worst that others’ judging can do to you is make you feel self-conscious. That isn’t so bad. Just do what you do. Be.