Today was another day of enlightening for me. After another day at class, at six o' clock PM, there was a pizza party for everyone at Summer@Brown who is there on some sort of scholarship. I didn't realize there were so many people who weren't paying for the camp out of their own pockets! I fact, there are a lot of people even on my floor that are a part of a scholarship program. During the Q&A section of the meeting, I was really thankful that there were people there who actually had the same concerns as I did. "Can I afford college?", "What kind of financial aid is there?", "Will they help pay for me to take trips home?" were some questions that I had, but had never had the opportunity to ask. In prior information sessions, the majority of people attending were only concerned with how to get in the college, but had no worries about affording it. Being near a lot of people who have the same thought process as I do made me feel a lot more comfortable with being uncomfortable about applying to college.
One thing that Marvin, my group leader (and Nick's RA), said really stuck with me: "Just trust the process." The one aspect that I have been the most stressed about is, after finding where I have and haven't been accepted, choosing the right college for me. Because schools vary so much, like Columbia's strict core curriculum and Brown's non-existent one, how could I possibly know which was the best for me without going to every one? Marvin told us that he applied to both of these colleges, and was rejected by Columbia; he couldn't be happier. He even told us that he wanted to thank Columbia for rejecting him, because he thinks he would have been so unhappy there. Admissions officers know what they're looking for, and who will be a good fit for their school. If you get rejected, then the school probably wasn't meant for you.
He also told us not to worry too much about the level of prestige of the school we attend. Prestige, he says, is basically measured in how much money a school has; everywhere you go, there will be amazing professors, and terrible ones. You can get a good education anywhere. I feel so much better about the admissions process after talking to Marvin. He was very straight-forward and honest about how it works, and knowing that if I get rejected by a school, it's not because I'm not good enough, but because we're just not compatible (or, at least that's what I'll tell myself), is a great place to find enough stability to stop worrying about the outcome, and just be able to enjoy the journey.