My Journey to Becoming a Knight

There is always this light at the end of the tunnel in high school: applying for college. Or, more importantly, getting accepted into college. Isn’t that what got us through waking up at five in the morning and those boring teachers that lectured on and on? College is a beacon of hope to high school students waiting to get out of the place they lived in and be on their own for the first time. Whether you got accepted into the college of your dreams, or you transferred from another university, everyone’s path to college is different.  

I was a sophomore in high school when I decided that I wanted to go to Florida State University. I dreamed of being in a college dorm on my own and having the time of my life without my mother’s supervision. I remember when a representative from FSU came to my high school to talk to students about the admissions process, and I was the only eager 16-year-old in the room ready to listen to what she had to say.  

Fast forward to senior year, I was sleep-deprived and had a low GPA that I was ashamed of. It was my last year of high school and of the IB program, which meant that college acceptances should’ve been flooding my mailbox.   

I remember sitting next to my mom that Monday night when FSU would be saying “yes” or “no” to early applications. My fingernails had been bitten off and my heart was racing. I had been dreaming of this moment where I would get into the college of my dreams. I remember thinking, "Could everything really fall into place?"

FSU didn’t accept me. They suggested that I go to Seminole State College and later transfer to them. My mom suggested Valencia College instead. Hearing the words “Valencia College” didn’t sit right in my stomach. That’s was my plan Z, the last place I wanted to end up at after high school.  

After the rejection from FSU, I began to mentally prepare myself for the inevitable. I had declined an offer from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg because I had no money and my loans didn’t even cover my room and board. My application from UCF was still up in the air, and I strongly believed that it would never come down.  

During my last week of high school, everyone in my class wore the t-shirt from the university that they were going to. To push away my uncertainty, and sadness, I wore my sister’s UCF shirt even though I didn’t get an acceptance from them yet. My 18-year-old self still held onto hope that maybe I could get accepted to my second choice.  

I received an acceptance email from UCF on May 5, 2016. I remember feeling as if my scream could’ve been heard throughout the entire neighborhood. I cried, jumped for joy and immediately picked a date for orientation. That was it; I was going to UCF. 

To tell you the truth, I still have the acceptance email from UCF in my mailbox. I’m a junior about to enter her last year of school, and I wouldn’t trade my time at UCF for anything. Looking back, I’m grateful that FSU didn’t accept me. If they did, then I wouldn’t have met the friends I have now, I wouldn’t have had the professors that have shaped me, and I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today.  

Applying to college is hard. Getting accepted into college is even harder. But, after all the rejections and acceptances, you will find where you’re supposed to be. For me, that was UCF. I’m pretty sure I made the right choice.  

Images: 1, 2