Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I slept 11 hours last night after crying*

Then, I woke up this morning and I knew.

*Ironically, this whole process and conflict has been very similar to falling in love with someone and being unable to move on. Anyway, I’ve moved on, in every sense.

It’s definitely sad that I can’t afford my dream school. However, I’d be even more miserable trying to make it (truly live) in New York City with the load of debt I’d acquire from attending NYU for four years. It’s an astronomical amount. Also, so many great opportunities probably just went down the drain by my decision to attend VCU instead of NYU. But instead of counting on the opportunities a school has to offer me, I’ll count on my own merit and strengths.

I am not going to depend on my parents to fund my education. Therefore:

  1. I am not burdening my aging father who’s the breadwinner of the house.
  2. I am not going to have any hand in ruining my two younger siblings’ opportunities to attend their dream college in the future.
  3. And most importantly—by not owing my parents anything, they have no say in what I do with my life or how I should live it. 

If I could take out loans for NYU on my own—without having my parents to cosign loans—I would. But I can’t. And I don’t want to get them involved in anything, especially not when it comes down to money.

I will go to the school that not only offers me the greatest financial package but also the best public arts program in the nation. I might not end up with as many connections and internship/job opportunities, and I won’t be living in New York City as soon as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t acquire connections and opportunities down the line and move up to New York City right after college.

College is not endgame. My dream does not end at any particular college. It goes onward—it always has—to my future careers.

When I picture my dream, college is definitely a part of it, but only a tiny portion when you compare it to the bigger picture: my happiness, which is contingent upon who I’ll be, where I’ll be, and what I’ll be doing.

All of those things I can achieve and make manifest by my own merit and strength. And also, I can look at my schools objectively enough to see that VCU has the #1 public art program in the nation (and it’s #4 overall in all art programs—both public and private), with good reason, I would hope.

One of the reasons why it’s taken me so long to decide is because I wasn’t sure if choosing any particular school over another would compromise my being true to myself. I’ve always thought of myself as an inherently honest person, so I didn’t want to make a hypocritical decision. However, I’ve thought about it long and hard, and deep inside, with this college decision, I know that I am still who I am—actually, maybe I’m more me than I’ve ever been, since I’m heading to VCU with this conviction:

  1. I am truly depending on no-one but myself and my abilities. 
  2. I have never let my circumstances stop me from doing my best. And as people have told me (as well as what I believe about myself), I am going to do my best and be the best at what I do no matter where I go—that is just who I am. 

This is the right decision for me.