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Why Brandeis beat my expectations

Published: October 21, 2011
Section: Opinions


This past summer, all I could think about was college—how incredible it was going to be, how much fun I was going to have and the amazing friends I would make.

I spent my free time worrying about my classes and dreading my finals, dreaming of people I did not know and places I had never seen and hoping—after all I had gone through to get there—that Brandeis would be exactly as I imagined … but it really wasn’t.

I was the first in my family to leave for college; something that was shocking in its own right. But the most shocking thing about my departure was that I was actually leaving—the same girl whose parents had to force to go to a camp during the summer, the girl who always hated sleepovers because she felt too homesick to spend even one night away from home and cried when she was in a store and couldn’t find her mom.

Lets just say that in my family, I’m not known for being very brave, so I felt extra pressure for this decision to be the right one. I really wanted to prove to everyone that I could do it, that I was an adult—which I actually became in Mexico when I turned 18—and that no matter what anyone said, I was going to do it.

I thought of so many different scenarios in my head. The first day of orientation, the first friend I would make, my first class … you get the idea. I had it all planned out. I knew what I wanted and I was going out to get it. No matter what, I was doing it.

Of course, once I got here and started saying goodbye to my parents I panicked and reconsidered all this certainty for a few minutes. What if I was making the wrong decision? What if everyone who said I would regret this was right? What if coming here was a mistake?

Now don’t get too alarmed. I didn’t even have time to come up with more questions or to plan any more negative outcomes because, when orientation began, I had this feeling and I knew that coming here was right.

From that moment to right now, everything has happened in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe half a semester has already gone by and I can’t believe how many things have happened since I got to Brandeis.

Every time I look back on this summer, I feel like laughing at myself for trying to plan everything ahead of time instead of enjoying the process. But how could I have known that only two doors away from my room would live the most incredible friend, or that after dropping and switching classes I would feel so thrilled, so excited to learn about things I love?

How could I have known I was going to go to Boston almost every weekend, or that I was going to shop like a crazy person and eat like a ravenous piranha and laugh at everything, all the time?

How could I have known how unbelievably happy being brave would make me?

When I said I wanted to be independent I really meant it and now I really am. I don’t answer to anyone—except maybe my parents now and then, when they remember to call me. I don’t have to let anyone know where I am, what I’m doing or with whom I am spending time.

Even the fact that I have a key to my room and that that room is my own (OK, it’s my roommate’s too) makes me so happy, no matter how small it may be or how different from my room at home. I can even sing it out loud … “Freedom, freedom, freeeedooooooommmm.”

I wanted Brandeis to be exactly like I imagined because I was scared to admit that I had absolutely no idea at all what I was doing. And when I come back home and someone asks me “Was it everything you expected?” I want to say yes—after all, I came this far to prove something. But the honest answer is no.

Brandeis is nothing like I thought it would be, it’s a million times more exciting, intimidating and incredible to be here than I ever thought it would be. Everything that has happened since I made the decision to come here has exceeded my expectations. It may not be much but I’m brave and independent now and I’ll never give it up.