The day I had dreamed of had finally arrived. I was finally at my dream school, the school I watched YouTube videos about until I physically couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Moving to college three and a half hours away from home was scary, but I was ready…so I had thought. I watched as everyone around me slowly settled into their new lives, constantly out with friends and living their “best lives.” As time went on, I found myself googling why I was crying in my dorm every night and wondering why I didn’t feel at home. I wondered if this was a universal college experience. Surprise, it was not. Weeks went by and I knew it wasn’t just angst, it was a genuine and utter struggle to belong. I was trying to mold myself in a place where I knew I didn’t belong. But after all, it was my dream school, so I had to make it work.
Weeks went by and I found myself googling the words I never thought I would be typing: Transfer Student Applications. How could it be that the place I had conceived was my home, had bragged to my peers about, was quickly becoming a place I resented so much? Everyone around me found their perfect fit, so why did I have to be the one person who got the short end of the stick? I was embarrassed that I wanted to transfer. I felt like I had failed. Everything I worked so hard for had disappeared like the small light I saw at the end of the tunnel.
Although my experience wasn’t all that I had wanted it to be, there were still moments of glimmering hope that conflicted me. There was nothing better than walking to the library to do work with my best friend while we actually chatted the whole time or going to class in my fashion building and picturing my dreams coming to life. I felt like I had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other telling me what I should do. But the devil was far worse than the angel could ever be. I knew it was time for me to leave.
Then it started, I had searched up and down for institutions but felt empty-handed, as I couldn’t find a school that fit what I was looking for. That was until I remembered Ohio University was only a 45-minute drive from where I lived. In high school, I refused to go to OU. Everyone in my school practically goes there, and I didn’t want to be just like everyone else. Little did I know that there was a reason everyone picked the small town with brick roads in the middle of nowhere Ohio. As much as my ego may have been bruised, transferring to Ohio University was the best thing I could have done for myself. I finally found what I was missing. I had found my home.
I still find myself grieving over what could have been. What would my life be like and what things would I be doing right now if things ended up differently? But that’s why I love life so much. It has a funny way of rerouting you in ways you never imagined, but it always works out better than you could have planned for yourself. Once a scared college freshman three and a half hours from home, now the girl that went to the college she used to refuse to go to. But I learned so much as a transfer student, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. As Taylor Swift said, “Sometimes giving up is the strong thing. Sometimes to run is the brave thing. Sometimes walking out is the one thing that will find you the right thing.” I hope someone can find comfort in my experience and know that sometimes what you thought you wanted is not what you need.