When Life Falls Into Place

For as big of a Carolina girl as I am, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that I was reluctant to enroll in UNC in 2016. In fact, it took a lot of convincing for me to commit to the seemingly unoriginal, easy college choice. But if I had to do it all over again, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would pick Carolina a million times again. 

I was never one of those kids who had their dream school plotted out since practically before they could read. Rather, by the time junior year of high school rolled around and people started asking where I wanted to go to college, I panicked. I haphazardly applied to the top journalism programs I could find, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. 

I didn’t even tour UNC. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to go to Carolina, but submitted an application for the formality. I would not follow in my big sister’s shadow like I had done the past decade and then some; I would make my own path and move to a new university that could be entirely mine. 

Deep down, I truly didn’t believe I would get into UNC and maybe that’s why I persuaded myself out of wanting to attend the school in the Southern part of Heaven. One way or another, I had my mind made up – I wouldn’t be upset if I got rejected, because I didn’t want to go there in the first place. 

I will never forget the day I got my letter of acceptance from UNC. I was driving my friend home from school when I got an email announcing that decisions were released. I tried to ignore the fact that my stomach dropped and my hands started sweating, but for some reason, that notification made me a lot more nervous than the other four colleges I had already heard back from. 

As soon as I got home I bolted upstairs to the computer and logged into my account. I read about five words of the letter before hot tears started streaming down my face. At that moment I let go of all of my preconceived notions about what my life might be like at UNC – I was just proud. 

A few weeks later I heard back from the last college I applied to, Syracuse University. I didn’t really expect much from that one either, but I fell in love with their Newhouse School of Public Communications. I was subconsciously hoping to get rejected so that I, one of the most indecisive people out there, wouldn’t have to make a decision. Instead, I got accepted, and I was really freaking excited about it. 

For the next few weeks I contemplated every possible situation and beat myself up over the fact that I couldn’t make a decision. I made pro and con lists, spent hours researching life at both schools, and went back and forth day by day. 

Finally I came to the conclusion that the Carolina admission decision made me feel like I had never felt before. I can’t really express those feelings or what drew me to UNC, but I was leaning that way and just needed a push over the edge. 

College survival tip #5: Trust your gut. Things have a funny way of working themself out, even when you feel like it’s impossible to make the right choice. 

That push? The UNC vs Syracuse final four NCAA basketball game. People laugh when I tell them I committed based off of a single basketball game, but it’s the truth. Carolina beat Cuse 83 – 66 on April 2, 2016, and I paid my enrollment deposit on April 3rd. 

Jump forward a few months and all of the apprehensions I had about following my sister or picking the most convenient in-state option completely dissolved. I remember walking through campus one evening in early September and thinking to myself, wow, I love it here. 

Carolina is my place and I couldn’t imagine going to college anywhere else. So when I think about the fact that I thought about attending a different school for even a second, much less the hours on end I spent contemplating my future, I can’t help but laugh a little. 

I still don’t know what it was that pushed me to be so emotional when I got accepted into UNC or what it was inside of me that overcame all of the doubts I had about my future at this school, but it has made me a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

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