Today, I want to tell you how my journey to Chapel Hill taught me about making decisions for personal growth.
My parents were raised in an extremely family-oriented culture. By default, they raised me the same way. I lived upstairs from my grandparents’ house until I was five years old. My family was always at the top of my mind. School was also extremely important to me, it was the only thing I felt that I was good at (but that topic is for another day). When the time came to apply to college the choice to me was clear, a university that was close to home. Sure going to college in a different city sounded cool, but my family was in Greenville. The university near me had a good honors college program that I could apply to and It gave me the option to live at home, or at least be close to home. It made sense to my parents too since when they were growing up the concept of moving away for college was foreign. So that’s what I did I applied to the Honors College at ECU.
I was talking to a friend of mine one day during the senior application process and he asked me what schools I was applying to. I said “I’m applying to ECU, they have a good program for what I want to study”- at that point it was Geology. He encouraged me to apply to other schools because according to him “it would be good for me to branch out.” I took his advice and decided to pick another school that stood out to me. I applied to UNC-Chapel Hill.
I sent in both of my applications and waited for a response. First, I received an acceptance letter from ECU. Then, received a letter saying that I was waitlisted for ECU’s Honors College. I still had not heard from UNC. I started to get anxious and realized that if I didn’t get accepted, I would be kind of upset. It was a weird and unexpected feeling considering I had a pretty set plan. Then finally the letter came…on Connect Carolina. I got in. I was in pure shock and excitement…. but now I had to make a really big decision. Do I go to ECU and stay with my family who is the most important thing to me, or do I take a chance and move to Chapel Hill? Based on stories that I had heard from former students I knew that I would be a good fit for UNC. After weeks of back and forth, it was time to make a decision.
Both schools had pros and both schools had cons. My parents encouraged me to choose what felt right. While I wanted to be around my family, deep down I thought “my friend is right, branching out would be good for me, being around new people, living on my own and being exposed to new perspectives would help me grow as a person.” I also thought “the decision to stay in Greenville would be driven by my family, not myself” which is neither a good or bad thing, but was a thought that was going through my head.
I chose UNC. And I chose it for myself (after all, it is only two hours away which is a decent distance from home). I have grown immensely during my time here and I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity to make that decision.
I found that sometimes it’s okay to put yourself first as long as you aren’t hurting anyone in the process and as long as it’s towards something good.