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I Couldn’t Afford My Dream School, But Here’s Why it Worked Out

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Many students have a school they dream of attending, whether it’s due to a parent’s legacy or to a good program. For me, that school was Emory University. One of my friends goes there, and at the time, I was planning on studying medicine, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I had seen pictures of the beautiful campus and heard about its amazing professors. I applied early decision because I knew for sure that I would go if I was accepted. In mid-December, I received an email with my acceptance letter. I was thrilled and could not wait to start my new life.

However, finances were an issue. I did not qualify for financial aid and would have to pay the entire cost of tuition. By February, I had also received my acceptance letter to the University of Florida. I had Florida Prepaid and Bright Futures, so my tuition would be covered. Regardless, I still had my heart set on attending Emory. Despite this, my parents explained to me that it would make more sense to attend UF so that I could avoid student loans. I was sad that I couldn’t go to Emory since I had been dreaming about it for so long.

Soon, my Fall semester at UF began. I took Chemistry 1 and all the required classes for the pre-med track as a biology major. I really struggled with chemistry, which was very different from the AP Chemistry class that I took in high school. I barely managed to pass the class. My grade in chemistry made me realize that studying medicine might not be for me. In my second semester, I took Chemistry 2 and Programming Fundamentals 1 to explore another area of study that I was interested in. I didn’t do well in chemistry but managed to get a good grade in programming. After my second semester, I realized that studying computer science might be better for me. During the fall semester of my second year, I changed my major and signed up for the required computer science classes. Currently, I am doing well in all my classes.

Not going to Emory was disappointing, but ultimately, I would have been in a more competitive school. I probably would have done even worse in chemistry there and maybe would have had to transfer. Now, as the first half of my second year is ending, I can say that UF is a great school for me, and it’s okay that I couldn’t go to Emory.

While it would have been nice going to a prestigious school, the cost of attendance would not be worth it, considering I had the option of going to UF, a top-ranked public university, for a much lower cost. Also, I always have the option of applying to Emory for graduate studies.

When this happened to me, I couldn’t think about going anywhere else other than Emory University. I remember thinking about the beautiful campus that I would walk through every day to class, the fancy dining hall food and all the amazing people I had met during my campus visit. I thought that my college experience elsewhere would be awful. However, I knew I could make UF the school of my dreams by getting involved and meeting new people. Soon enough, I felt that UF was the school where I belonged.

Currently, I am in my second year at the University of Florida and love it. I have so many great friends at this school, and I have joined so many great organizations. I do believe that everything happens for a reason, so ultimately, it was meant to be. It will feel disappointing to not go to your dream school at first, but after accepting it, you start to see the positives and realize that no school will be perfect. Ultimately, your motivation to do good will determine your success, not the school you go to despite how much it appears to be.

Niharika graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics. She wrote for Her Campus UFL during her time at UF. She also wrote for Her Campus Leeds when she spent her junior year abroad at the University of Leeds in Leeds, England. She tried drinking tea when in England but is still a coffee person at heart. As a Colorado native, Niharika loves hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. In her spare time, she likes to explore her creativity through photography and drawing.