Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

As I am approaching my junior year, I am beginning to buckle down and prepare for college. There are so many aspects to getting into college, and I am determined to go to a good out-of-state school. Seeing as I am interested in journalism and communications, I have pinpointed a couple schools that I would consider going to.

However, before I can even think about leaving Florida for college, I need to make sure that my college checklist is complete. There are certain features of a school that could make or break my decision to attend.

My College Checklist

  • Location (rural, suburban, metropolis, city, town, etc.)
  • Athletics
  • Academics
  • Extracurriculars
  • Weather

The location of college is important. The difference between a college town and a city campus is huge. For example, Northwestern University (Chicago, Ill.) has two campuses, one in the heart of Chicago and one in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. The downtown campus is a lot more fast-paced and busy whereas the suburban campus is a little more tucked away and relaxed. Certain people don’t want to be anywhere near the hustle and bustle of the city, so a rural or suburban campus would probably be a good choice for them. It just depends on the preferences of that person.

Now on to athletics! I hadn’t really paid much attention to athletics before I actually started seriously looking in to schools. After visiting my grandparents in North Carolina, we made a road trip out of our drive back to South Florida and stopped for some college tours. Our first stop was at Emory University (Atlanta, Ga.). I absolutely LOVED Emory. The campus was gorgeous, the dorms were modest, and the location was great. Everything looked like it was falling into place. And then the bomb was dropped: there is no football at Emory. They have a very successful Division III men’s basketball team, but basketball isn’t football. In the past, I don’t think that would have bothered me. However, after seeing my cousin getting into the Badger football spirit at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a liking at the fact that I would be in the same boat once I got to college. Therefore, as perfect as Emory might have been, I am crossing it off my list of possibilities, but I have no doubt that I will find an equally perfect college that DOES have football.

Even though social life and athletics are important in college, academics cannot be neglected. I am specifically looking for a good journalism or communications school. I have found a handful of schools that I am considering in my college hunt. They have made it into my list because of their qualifications, rankings, and ratings and also by word of mouth. Syracuse University has slowly moved itself towards the top of my list. Not only does it have an excellent and highly recommended communications school, it also provides a student with networking. I think that is one of the most important things to come out of college with. You never know when you will need to call on a favor from someone, so it is beneficial to take all the business cards possible. In addition, I have a family friend who graduated from Syracuse’s communications school, and she is currently living in Manhattan with a job at a public relations firm whose client is McDonalds. I can only hope that I start out in the real world with a life like that!

With the extra free time while not at classes or out with friends, there are extracurricular activities that I would love to participate in. One of those would have to be the newspaper. Even if I don’t pursue a major in journalism directly, I still want to be a part of the newspaper staff and keep the reporter in me alive. I love how, in high school, I can be drowning in academic work, but I can always go to newspaper and relieve my stress by writing. Also, I would love it if whatever college I go to has a gym open to all students. When we toured Emory, they had a huge, state-of-the-art athletic building with an indoor Olympic-sized pool, spinning bikes, running tracks, cardio machines, and other gym equipment to satisfy everyone’s needs. Even though I’m not the biggest exercise buff, this building was mesmerizing and made me want to work out 24/7. I don’t know what kind of college life I would have if there weren’t extracurriculars on campus to entertain me.

The last item on my checklist is weather. I am a Florida girl, born and raised (on the playground is where I spent most of my days….wow, that was cheesy). Seriously though, I have lived in South Florida my entire life, so I have never experienced a harsh winter or a snowy winter for that matter. Sure, I have been on trips before to places that have been in the low 20s or below, but that was only for a couple days. I have my sights set on a couple colleges in the northeast and Midwest. As people start to ask me where I want to go to school, and I respond, “preferably Northwestern or Syracuse,” they proceed to laugh in my face and tell me how cold it gets. Yes, I understand that it gets cold in places other than South Florida; I would like to think that for a good college education, I could suck it up and brave the weather. As long as I am properly layered and kept warm throughout the cold days, I think that I would be able to handle it.

If you have made it this far in my blog post, I commend you for listening to my saga. As it is, I am an extremely indecisive person; I am curious to see how this college hunt will end. With all the previously mentioned features taken into consideration, there has to be a school that can satisfy my requests. I know that wherever I end up, I will have the best college experience possible.

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