By Karen Banda

A year ago I was in the same position as high school seniors are today. Applying for college and deciding where you will be spending the next four years can sure be stressful and scary. In-state vs. Out-of-state; public vs. private; research university vs. liberal arts college – the options are endless. Making sure that the school you choose is the right fit for you could be a difficult or easy task. And, you will face that dreaded question about your intended major.

road-less-traveledFor first-gens, the decision of leaving home and going to a completely new and different place can seem frightening. This fear discourages many from leaving and attending their dream school. I had those fears once, so I understand what some of you may be going through. Because of those fears and the what-ifs, I did not apply early decision to any school. I should have applied early decision to Smith, but the fears sneaked in my mind and discouraged me every time I thought about doing it. I spent my spring semester of senior year worried about what school was a good fit for me and how my final decision would affect and shape my life.

“The fears of leaving home may increase as time gets closer to the day you make your college decision, but the excitement to be in a place that before you could only dream of, will overpower that fear.”

Some of you may already know exactly what major and career field you want to pursue and some of you may not. It is completely fine for you to not know exactly what you want. I am in my first semester at Smith and I’ve already changed my intended major. I came to Smith thinking that I was going to major in Economics but one class (Intro to Microeconomics) made me realize that, although I find economics fascinating and interesting, I am not passionate about it. The great thing about schools like Smith is that they want us to explore fields in all areas and find our passion. So if you are still unsure of what you want to major in do not worry, because you have time to decide.

If you decide to attend an out-of-state school, you may feel like you will miss out on things back home and maybe, for the first few weeks, you may think you made a mistake. But, you probably didn’t make the wrong choice. You will learn that leaving was the best choice you could have made for yourself and for your family. Seniors, you have initiated the process to embark on the road less traveled. The fears of leaving home may increase as time gets closer to the day you make your college decision, but the excitement to be in a place that before you could only dream of, will overpower that fear. Don’t be afraid of the path that you will take. Embrace it and be proud of your decision because not many get to live the adventure that you will go through.

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