A Teen's View
(6/11) As I write this article, Iím just twelve days away from my highschool graduation and the next big step in my life Ė college. I think most everyone has had preconceived notions, either
fantastic or horrible, about college and all that it entails. Up until 11th grade, I always imagined college as a place where grown-up people went for independence, parties, and eventually to get a good job. It was an
intimidating place where you were all alone, abandoned by your parents and friends, and there was no one to help you with your homework and, even worse, your laundry. I also imagined college as a time and place where a person
automatically grew up, where the ever self-confident college student had everything under control and her entire life planned out. However, all of these notions arenít necessarily true, and Iím glad to know that my college
experience will be something I had never expected.
The beginnings of my college experience probably began with my search for the Ďperfect collegeí last summer. For awhile I had been receiving Ďcollege spam mailí; different liberal arts colleges
from all over the country tried to convince me that I would be a perfect fit in their sports program (I havenít played sports in years) or that perhaps Iíd decide based off the pretty pictures of their campus. One college sent
me information that I supposedly requested on a major in Archaeology. Sorry, not for me. However, in my search for the right college, I quickly narrowed my choices when I ruled out all colleges that werenít authentically
Catholic, that were half way across the country, and that had ridiculously high tuitions. That then left me with a handful of Catholic colleges on the East Coast, or close to it. When it finally came down to which ones I should
actually start applying to, I chose one. Yes, only one. I chose to apply to a small college way out in Ohio in a tiny town called Steubenville, sometimes mistakenly heard as ĎStupidville.í The one college I so daringly applied
to and set all my hopes on was Franciscan University of Steubenville.
So why did I apply only to Franciscan? Last summer I went on a youth retreat hosted by Franciscan University held on the campus. I had heard about the college before and knew a few alumni and
freshmen, but wasnít sure if I should apply. But after staying on campus those few nights, seeing the college students so vibrant and welcoming, and realizing how strong in its Christian beliefs Franciscan is, I just had to
apply. When I came home that summer, I couldnít stop thinking about Franciscan and what a perfect fit it was. To add to my excitement, it seemed as if everyone I talked to had a child attending Franciscan, was an alumni, or knew
of someone going there. All these signs and more convinced me that God was obviously calling me to Franciscan, and I couldnít ignore it.
The application process went very smoothly for me, unlike some of the nightmarish stories Iíd heard from friends; I had my transcript, essay, and recommendations letters all sent in by the end of
fall. As I waited for a response, doubts started to set in. I was convinced that Franciscan was the best fit for me; I had no doubts about that. But I kept worrying that maybe they didnít think I was the best fit for them. What
if they didnít accept me? Where would I apply to next? As the days turned into weeks, I was getting more anxious to hear a response. Then in early November I received a letter from Franciscan. I tore it open and read the first
word ĎCongratulations!í and I knew I had been accepted! I was so ecstatic that I didnít read the rest of the letter until I had announced the news to my family. I was so giddy just to know that I had been accepted into a
However, I had even greater ambitions: I decided to apply to the Great Books Honors Program. I kept putting off writing the essay for the Honors application. I would write bits and pieces of it
while getting advice from my teacher on how to improve my application, but I wasnít sure if it was good enough to impress Admissions. All I could do was write my best and wait for a reply. Every letter from Franciscan I opened
with eagerness, but with no luck. It had been about three weeks since I sent my application and I was beginning to lose hope. But just two weeks ago, I saw the cream-colored envelope in my mail, opened it in the driveway, and
ran into the house. I had been accepted into the Honors Program! This time I think I was even more overjoyed than when I was received into Franciscan University. I realized that all the hard work and sincere effort I put into my
highschool education had paid off. It is a great feeling.
Each step in my college process has made me see that, yes, Iím actually going to college soon. Itís real now. Iíll be living about 250 miles away, in a completely different environment, eating
non-organic food, and doing my own laundry (which I have yet to master). However, I know I am ready for this step. Although Iím nervous and have lots of questions, I am so excited to meet new people, learn great things, and
become a more independent person. I will be majoring in Communications with a concentration in Journalism, and Iím glad to say that writing for the News Journal has sparked my interest in this field of work. Iím so blessed to
have this opportunity to go to college. Thank you to all of my family, friends, teachers, and Emmitsburgians for your prayers, support, and encouragement! Because of you, I am prepared for college and all that lies ahead.
Read other articles by Olivia Sielaff