“You’re not going to Madison?”: Senior year of high school was filled with drama, goodbyes, and most importantly, your acceptance letter into University of Wisconsin-Madison. Every Friday past November 1st you would anxiously refresh your email to see if your portal was updated and if you were accepted, waitlisted, or denied. For most people in Madison, this portal update made or broke their lives. My view on this situation was different though, I applied, I got in, and I never really saw the hype around going to Madison. It is such a great school, but why would I want to go to a school that was 5 miles away from my house? So I chose a school that was roughly 1,000 miles away.
“Why did I come here”?: When I left Wisconsin, I couldn’t have been happier. I was excited to meet new friends that I wasn’t forced to be friends with through countless years of knowing each other. I was also excited to go somewhere that I didn’t know a single person, and I mean a single person. I didn’t think it was going to be hard making friends, everyone always talks about their dorms friends and I was planning on rushing 2 weeks into the school year. I was wrong. My floor ended up only having 3 dorms on it, for various reasons, and wasn’t as social as the dorms my older friends described. It was pretty much impossible to make a single friend besides my roommate. Rushing really didn’t help this situation either. Madison’s out of state was roughly equivalent to Boulder’s, where ⅔ of the undergraduate students were in-state and most likely all went to the same high school or from the same area. I felt isolated, and farther away from home than I ever have. I would call my mom crying every night about how I was lonely, vulnerable, and how I wanted to come home and go to Madison. I went home almost every other weekend and I thought about transferring back home almost every day, and even filled out an application to attend Madison in the Spring. I decided to wait out transferring until the end of the year and hoped that things would get better later on in the year. After winter break, things turned around. I started to make friends in my sorority, dorm, classes, along with friends of friends. I began to realize all the perks going out of state and out of my comfort zone had.
“I am so happy I came here”: Looking back almost two years later I couldn’t have made a better decision. I branched out from doing the stereotypical Madison kid’s college choice and the perks are endlessly paying off. I was able to find the edges of my comfort zone and surpass them. I also was able to gain characteristics that I never knew I could possess. This experience, even though it seems like a small decision, shaped who I am today and who I will continue to be. I look back at everyone who went to Madison, or stayed in state, and see that they are the same people they were when they graduated 2.5 years ago. They still have the same friends, have the same comfort zone, and have gained no new qualities that will last a lifetime. Being the only person within a 400 person graduating class to go out of state has it’s risks, and could have failed miserably through the inability to make friends, gain new characteristics, and by going home 4 months after I left. I broke the stereotype through this decision and am able to say that I am my own person with newly discovered characteristics that I will be forever grateful for.