One of my teachers told me recently, “Anna Grace, things tend to fall into place for you in the strangest and most unexpected ways.” I’ve started to understand the truth of that statement.
If you would have asked me when I was 6 years-old, 16 years-old, or even this time last year, I would have told you that the University of Georgia was the end all be all for me. It was going to be Athens or nothing.
After getting denied from what I thought was my dream school, UGA, I was heartbroken. And honestly, I took it personally. I took it personally because I felt offended that they didn’t see me as a person, rather just a number on a piece of paper, looking at my grades instead of trying to get to know me for me. I cried about it for a few days, which is healthy and necessary when you feel defeated, but then I got back on my feet and decided I wasn’t going to let this defeat the best of me.
I am a deep thinker, deep feeler, deep lover, confronter and communicator. I have a creative and busy mind, but I am not a procrastinator in the slightest. I am always thinking and planning ahead. Whether it be for the next class period, the approaching afternoon, the next day or weekend, or even the weeks and years to come, I am always trying to get in front of myself. This is a good trait to have to an extent, but it also gets me wrapped up in my thoughts, causing me to get stressed and anxious. When applying to college, at a certain point I had to learn to let go of the wheel and just let things fall into place. The worst part of applying to college was the finishing of the applications and the waiting. Waiting to hear back from schools, waiting to have my essays read, waiting to figure out next steps. The angst of knowing that everything was out of my control was overwhelming and unsettling. But I knew I had to just be at peace and let things fall into place.
The thing about dreaming is that you never really know it’s a dream until you’re in the middle of it. I toured 6 college campuses, and it wasn’t until I stepped foot in Oxford, Mississippi that I knew I was home. That I was dreaming. And do you want to know the crazy thing? I got into a heated fight with my parents about even applying to Ole Miss, and it was the last college application that I submitted. It turns out that things really do tend to come together in the most shocking ways.
2020 has been one hell of a year, and I have learned a lot of lessons through applying to college. The first lesson I learned was to find beauty in chaos. Enjoy bragging about yourself on college applications, make yourself heard, make yourself known. Don’t just be a number. Be YOU. I have learned to live life in intervals. Sometimes I have trouble making it through a day. If I can’t do that, I try to make it through an hour. If that still feels hard, I try 30 minutes, then 20, then 10, then one minute. If you start thinking about your life like every minute is another to conquer, you will come out stronger. I have learned to try and fail, and to get back up and try again until I succeed. For me, right now, in this chapter of my life, finding a college that fit was my success. And knowing where I will begin the next chapter of my life is relieving and exhilarating. It keeps me up at night with excitement.
If you aren’t applying to college yet, you already have, or you have been down this road before, this question is still for you. What does your life look like from here? Today, tomorrow, a year from now. Every day is a new chapter. Every moment. You should look at every moment like a dream, and bask in the midst of it.