There is No Right School For You

There is no right school for you. Don’t flip out. 


One of my dearest teachers told me this in high school, as I ended my senior year and I disregarded it. I thought there was no way some school out there wasn’t meant for me, destined for me or fated for me. Just like how I believed everyone had a soulmate with soft, curly hair and kind and warm eyes; I believed I had a school-mate with intriguing, challenging courses and charismatic, caring students.


However, upon deciding on VCU and arriving, I realized that there really was no right school for me. VCU certainly wasn’t perfect with its dubious promises of the ability to double major in theatre performance and psychology, the abundance of egocentric students in my classes and its deficiency in communication. However, no other place could get within a two-hundred-mile radius of perfect either, nor could it give me the things I love about this school: the intensely supportive, diverse people in the theatre department, the proximity to the real world (not being confined to a country bumpkin campus) and the constant, professional and academic opportunities. 

There is no perfect school for anyone, not one. Wherever an individual goes, there will be some dumb graduation requirement class, run-down dorm building or stupid, greasy meal plan. On the other hand, wherever an individual goes there will be an unexpected, eclectic group of friends and a warm coffee shop that inspires homework and poetry. As well as a professor that makes you actually excited to learn about dendrite growth on neurons. 


There is no right school. However, there is the right choice and that’s whichever one you make. You can turn anything into something you love based on the manner in which you look at it. Even if your school doesn’t have the sketch comedy group you’ve always wanted to be a part of or the business in the art class you saw at some other university, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to incorporate those things. Start your own comedy group. Reach out to local professionals or alumni that have businesses in the arts. College is what you make of it. Bring the kids from your engineering class over to have an origami night or invite your hall out to play flag football. Be all the things you want in a school, because after all, a school is merely a glass box exhibiting its students. If you are inside doing what you want, the school will look just how you dreamed it would. 


High school puts unnecessary pressure on the path to college, depicting it as a one-way, dead-set course. As a high schooler, I thought there was a fork in the road and if I chose poorly, I would reach a dead end and be doomed. It turns out, you just have to move the overgrown branches aside and push through until you reach where you want to. 


If I could go back and tell my afflicted, worried little self that any choice I made would be fine, I would sprint back twelve months this minute. The world just isn’t as clean cut as I desired it to be. This isn’t a choose-your-own-adventure book with the possibility of a perfectly happy and clean path. Every chapter has its own greasy, one-eyed pirate that loots you not just of your possessions but your hope, its thin mattress that keeps your muscles stiff and its puddles of quicksand that yank you down under when you think you have finally found your way. There is no right path, the road ahead of you sits in no atlas. All you can do is keep trekking. 


There is no right school. Whichever choice you make, you’re right. Don’t flip out. 


Photo Credit: Sidney DeAtley