Florida, am I right? You know exactly what I mean. The whole state is swampy, basically underwater and home to the infamous Florida Man. I vowed I would get far, far away the second I graduated high school.
Florida: the state I hate, the place where I chose to spend the next four years of my life for reasons I’m still trying to figure out.
The Northeast was the dream when I started applying to colleges. Why would I subject myself to more humid misery, other than Florida education would be cheaper? Plus, the University of Florida (UF) would be the only in-state school I would even think of attending. I daydreamed about the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, where seasons exist.
But alas, I sent in two Florida applications with some gentle nudging (more like relentless badgering) from my mother, who wanted me to stay close to home. But then something crazy happened–I got into UMD and UF. What? How? Why?
Do I stay or do I go?
On one hand, I earned a spot at my dream school on a partial scholarship, would live 30 minutes from Washington, D.C. and could possibly work as a political journalist. On the other, I could go to school five hours away from my childhood house (and my family) and partake in something called “the chomp.” Not to mention it’s located in Florida. Armed with these points, I needed to make a decision. Obviously, I chose UF. Yup–the conclusion you were expecting, I know. I plan on residing in G-ville: I already enrolled in classes and even bought myself some Gator gear. Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely do not bleed orange and blue (yet). My story is far from over. My reservations and my initial concerns still are very much valid. However, I came to this decision fairly simply.
When I visited UMD, after I received both Maryland and UF’s acceptances, I spoke to a faculty member who basically told me that Maryland’s and Florida’s journalism programs are very similar and even sometimes modeled after one another. He also reminded me that I may want to further my education, so I should save some money as I pursue my undergrad degree. What he said made a lot of practical sense and I definitely agreed with him. I put down my housing deposit and became a Baby Gator that night. I also swallowed my pride and told my family, who I annoyingly reminded that I’d be out of there any chance I got, that I turned down UMD in favor of UF.
They threw me an orange and blue themed dinner party to celebrate.
Am I excited to start college? Absolutely. Will I make the best out of my situation? Of course. Will I complain about the weather often? Obviously. Will I sometimes wonder “what if?” Most definitely. This isn’t “I go to UF now, the end!” This is “I will give it my best effort to do well and have fun, but I can always transfer.” Here’s to potentially four more years of Pub subs, hurricane price gouging and holiday lights on palm trees.