Dream School vs. Dream Deal

Cielo, a Los Angeles dreamer, enjoys recognizing images in the occasional cumulus cloud that meanders through the California sky, documenting interesting events and quotes and observations, and learning about different cultures, customs and lifestyles.

After sitting through 20 minutes of a terrible—and teary—interview for a full-tuition scholarship to a colleges that I had only dreamed of going to, I wanted to be no more than one with the floor, curled up into a compact ball rocking, or rolling, back and forth. My chocked-up answers to the drilling questions of the interviewers and the images of their concerned faces haunted my head and no matter how loud I sung whatever song was on the radio or tried to focus on the shiny red, attention demanding signs of various restaurants, they stayed there. I was ashamed of myself: I wanted to flee home and hide in my closet. I knew the interview went terrible, contrary to what the interviewers said, and I felt sickeningly insecure.

After reviewing my grades and a few tidbits of information about me, the interviewers basically told me that they felt that my dream school was not the school for me, that I belonged at a school that I personally felt was the opposite of what I desired. I could still receive the scholarship, just for a different school. I always knew that money would be an issue for me when it came to going to school. I had imagined that if I was given a hefty scholarship to a decent school, I would take it. Now that this situation sat in front of me, I had different ideas.]

Forced to leave school that day in order to make it to the interview on time with the inevitable Los Angeles traffic, I felt like the whole exercise was a waste. I had stayed up late the previous night, rushing to complete my personal statement along with several other questionnaires in time for the early decision application that acquainted the scholarship. I had talked with my teachers about homework I might have missed. I had to have my mom take part of the day off from work in order to drive me to the interview. I suffered through the rain and exorbitant prices of parking in Downtown LA. And I felt like it was all for nothing.

Upset that I had put myself, and my mom, through all this stress for nothing, I pulled my knees to my chest and kept them there for the ride home. I shared my feelings of waste with my mom and she helped me discover a different side to the disastrous ordeal. My mom assured me of the following:

o       Contrary to how I felt, the interview was not a waste. In fact, it was a test run for interviews to come. I know knew that I would have to prepare more for the next interview so I would be able to handle the curve-ball questions thrown at me.

o       She reminded me that there are other colleges and universities out there, and although it may not be one of the ones I was interviewed for, there is a school out there that is perfect for me. I have to make that decision for me without the restraints of my interviewers pressuring me into selecting a school they thought was best for me. I am the one who will be attending the school for four or more years, not them.

o       Even if I am being offered scholarship money that will cover my tuition, I cannot accept it unless I am sure that it is the school of my dreams. If this means that we have to take out loans, we will take out loans. But we will take out loans for my dream school and not for some sub-par college that I lacked interest in.

My mom’s words of wisdom and support lifted me from my self-pitying stupor and dusted me off. I went straight home and instead of hiding in my closet, I hopped onto my computer and started applying to other universities that I felt fit me.

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