Opening Up the Maps
For a couple years now, I have been approached by friends and family and teachers and counselors with the same question:
“Where do you want to go for college?”
Many did not wait for an answer and assumed I would follow in my two sisters’ footsteps to UC San Diego. Considering the decent 2-hour drive, moderate weather, beach access, and great food, I probably would have said yes…if not for my interest in a more musically-renown school.
In other cases, I would name the default schools with great reputations and campuses, such as UCLA. The fact is, I had no idea what to look for in a college, but the more I told people what sounded good, the more I convinced myself that’s what I wanted. So I set up a small list of criteria for my future school:
- Great music program
- Racial diversity
- Not too big, not too small
- CLOSE TO HOME!
That last one seemed set in stone for me. I figured if I was too terrified to go retrieve the mail from the mailman himself because I would rather just wait til he dropped it off and sneakily run outside to grab it 2-3 minutes later just to avoid socializing, I was probably not ready to go out of state. But that all changed when I got accepted into a summer music academy held in Denver, Colorado.
I could go on for hours about my experiences there, but to sum it all up in a few sentences: I improved as a musician and was chosen on some special occasions to perform. I enjoyed my two weeks in the dorms and practice rooms and concert halls, all without my parents leading me around. Lastly, I totally fell in love with Denver, even beyond the university (i.e. the weather, Denver Art Museum). All in all, I really got out there.
When I returned home, I realized something pretty important. It is okay to go out of your comfort zone, especially when faced with so many opportunities to shine. And although I still don’t exactly know where I want to go for college, I have certainly broadened my horizons (quite literally), which has opened up so many new doors for me that I might have rejected in the past.
SO GO! GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! (And maybe visit Denver sometime.)