The Transfer Student.

July 2, 2008

I am sitting in a hotel bed in San Francisco. Laying next to me is my boyfriend of nearly three years, and I’m sure he is not happy about the fact that I am blogging with the lights on at nearly one in the morning, especially when we have to be up at eight tomorrow morning to eat our crappy free muffins, courtesy of the hotel lobby.

This is, in part, a story about how I got here, but the more pressing matter at hand is where I am going. However, you can’t have one without the other, so here it goes.

When I started high school, I had absolutely no interest in college at all. I was thirteen years old, had a large group of friends, was the singer in a locally popular, albeit atrocious, grunge band. I had just replaced my nerdy glasses with contacts, discovered eye-liner, and had a funky haircut with an attitude to match. College was possibly the furthest thing from my mind.

During the course of my sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to go to Swarthmore College. This was probably due in part to attending my father’s fifteen year reunion, and absolutely falling in love with Swat. (I had been there for the five year reunion, but had attributed the beautiful, mirage reminiscent memories to the fact that I was a small child.) But when I went to my guidance counselor to discuss my dreams, she told me that there was little to no chance that I would get into Swarthmore. I tore into my junior year, determined to prove her wrong. The rest is a long story.

The short version is, she was right.

Rejected from college. I had applied to Swarthmore, Reed, and Barnard College. In other words, Swat, west coast Swat, and all-girl Swat. I had no safety school, I had no backup plan. Instead, I had three rejection letters and a wide, gaping space of time where I had assumed I would be a freshman college.

But ever the contentious daughter of a Swattie, I decided that I would not let it hold me back. High school had been terrible and traumatic for a myriad of reasons, and I would not let college be the same experience. I was seventeen with a mission. After a few months of tumultous fighting with my parents, I convinced my parents to let me pack my bags and move across the country for community college. I found my roommates on Craigslist, bought my books online, and moved in to a two bedroom, two cat apartment in Portland, OR with two suitcases and a sleeping bag.

The time raced by at a speed that terrified and excited me, and before I knew it, freshman year was over, and I had received multiple acceptances to good schools. In fact, I had heard from all of the schools I had applied to.

Except Swarthmore.

Then the day came. May 15th. I thought the decision would be mailed to my apartment in Oregon, but being anxious, I checked my parents’ mailbox in Maryland. (I was home visiting at the time.) I went out to the mailbox, and there it was. Exactly the same envelope I had received the year prior. My heart sank, and it was at that moment that I realized that my Swat dream hadn’t disappeared, hadn’t even been dampened by the prospect of going to school in DC. I ripped open the envelope, and read with dismay,

“Congratulations! We are pleased…” That was all I read before I went into shock. I ran screaming into the house to tell my mother and boyfriend that the impossible had happened. I was going to Swarthmore.

Now it has been a month and a half since I received that letter. My boyfriend, Chad, and I went to the west coast together to finish out my lease in Portland, and then travelled to Seattle and San Francisco just to explore. I have sent in my deposit, my parents have griped about having paid the first installment of my tuition. My long-awaited west coast getaway is coming to a close in two days, and in fifty-five days, I will move into my dorm at Swarthmore.

I have absolutely no idea to expect. My Swat experience is starting a year late, I know no one in my class, and I will be a sophomore in a freshman’s body…or the other way around, I’m not sure which. I got the idea for this blog from some of the other Swattie blogs, and decided to chronicle my experience in case any of the twelve or so annual transfer students in the future are as lost as I am.

Well, I think this blog has dragged on long enough. Tomorrow Chad and I are going to meet up with an old Swat classmate of my dad’s, and a bunch of other Swatties in Berkley.

Until next time,
The Transfer Student

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