Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Biggest Decision of My Life

I just made the biggest decision of my life. Or, at least, it feels that way. It's certainly a ginormous weight off my mind.

I have decided what university I'm going to (yay!). I am now at the end of a very long university process, at the end of four years of high school in an academic program that almost broke my back every single day. I am at the end, and I've made the decision. All the hard work has paid off. I am FREE!!!

I've piqued your interest now. Your all wondering! Where, oh where, did I pick? What, oh what, am I going to do? I bet you're on the edge of your seat at this very moment, bitting your nails to the beds. Well, I'll tell you, if you bare with me for a little bit, as I explain how I got where I'm going. After all, it's all about the journey, not the destination right?

Let the cliches begin!

I will start as I always do, with a pop culture reference, of the young adult romance variety. There's an absolutely hilarious part in the second Jessica Darling book (Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty) where she describes how she choose which universities to apply to. I'm going to attempt to do the same, except it will be a lot more random, and a lot less funny. You may just want to buy the book now and forget about this post.

If you're still with me, which you shouldn't be because Jessica Darling is hilarious and Megan McCafferty is a genius, I shall start. Before I can explain what university I chose, I have to tell you a little bit about me, as a student, so you understand what type of options were open to me.

I am a very good student. With an equation of roughly 70%-80% hard work and 30%-20% actual intelligence I pull off very good grades. Plus, I have no social life. That helps too. LOTS of free time. Which allows me to be in the academically challenging program that I am in, as well as lots of clubs and school organizations and what not. Now, I am not, you know, Rory Gilmore. I will not be going to Harvard. But, for all intents and purposes, I have my pick of schools. Yippee! So, with all my options open to me, I sat down, and began my picking process, step by step:

1) Eliminate all schools outside Canada

Yes, that eliminates like, 99.9% of the universities. Sure made my choice easier!

I had to stay within Canada, for a few reasons. First, because I love Canada, plain and simple. I am as patriotic as they come. I love Canada, I love being Canadian. I could never live somewhere, for a significant time, that wasn't on Canadian soil. I want to be Canadian, I want my kids to be Canadian. Also, I really didn't want to take any type of stupid aptitude test. In Canada, there's no SAT or ACT or anything like that. So, I would have had no friends to study with, no real time to prepare. It would have been a huge deal, and a ton of work, and I'm glad I got to avoid it. And, finally, and I can't stress this enough: Canada is cheaper! Do you know how much it costs to go to school as an international student? Wholly molly. I'd have to be Blair freakin' Waldorf to afford it. And, you know, I'm not, so Canada it is!

2) Eliminate all schools that didn't have the program I wanted

I kind of always had an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but I wouldn't admit it to anyone, not even myself. My secret dream was always to be a teacher. It's hard for me to explain why. It just always felt right. I sure hope it's right! With that in mind, I started looking at university. During March Break last year I visited McGill with a few of my friends. There, I learned about the Concurrent English/Education program, which sounded absolutely perfect to me. I could still do all the english stuff I loved, as well as drama as a minor, while doing all the education stuff, right from the get go. I knew then that I wanted to pursue that program, maybe not a McGill, but at some university. Not that many universities had that program, so the list was getting pretty short.

3) Eliminate all the schools that are not in the top 20 in Maclean's rankings

I am not a snob. I just want to go to a good school. And with my grades, I can. So, I literally sat down with my Maclean's and looked at the Top 20 Undergraduate list, and found out, via their websites, if they had my program or not. Viola, only, like 12 schools left!

4) Add in any "speciality" schools, meaning any schools that interest me that aren't on the Maclean's list

There are certain schools that were in the undergraduate top 20 that I was curious about, for one reason or another. One was McGill, since I liked Montreal so much, and it was, in my opinion, the best university in the country. Another was the University of Toronto, since it is the second best university, and I live in Toronto, and it's pretty much required that I apply there. Others included the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, since I have relatives that live out that way, so it would be like a home away from home. So, the list got a little longer.

5) Eliminate any schools that didn't meet my "special criteria"

By now, all the schools on my list were pretty good schools, all of which had the program I wanted. So, it was time to start considering the other stuff that mattered to me, which included:

  • Size of school: I go to small school! And I am really shy! A lot of people overwhelm me. I wanted to go to a small school, where I'd feel comfortable.
  • Distance of school: As much as I want to get away from my parents (love you!), I still wanted to be able to come home on weekends or whatever. Ideally, I was looking for a school 2-3 hours away from Toronto. Close to home, but not too close.
  • Location of school: I grew up in the biggest city in Canada. And I didn't like it that much! I'm ready to get out of Toronto, to a total change of scene. Either a really exciting city, or a small town. Something different.
  • Boy/Girl Ratio: I didn't admit this to my parents, but I'll admit it to you, total strangers. In a world where girls kick butt and often way outnumber guys in university, I wanted a fairly balanced ratio. Because, you know, I love romance. Dating would be a good way to get there.
  • Age of School: I love old buildings, so I really wanted to go to an old school.

From there, I just started to browse the websites, and read more rankings. I had a good feeling from a few schools, and slowly I made my list. In the end I applied to six schools. And this weekend I picked one. And, as much as I want to tell you which one, I really can't (I know, I promised. You officially have permission to hate me). But I don't even know you, whoever you are reading this. And my friends don't even know yet! I can tell you that it meets all but one of my criteria. I can tell you that I love it, and I'm very excited for next year. I can also tell you that now that I know where I'm going next year, it's really hard for me to care about stupid high school stuff tomorrow.

Alas, that stupid high school stuff is demanding my attention...

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled onto this because I'm a big fan of both Jessica Darling and Rory Gilmore.

    Since you're interested in teaching and also drama, you should know about Nilaja Sun. Search to find the interview with her by an Australian named Richard Fidler. She is a gift to humanity and will inspire you.


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