Given that the original purpose of this site was to describe my university experience, it seems only appropriate to begin at the beginning, with the decision of where to go. Generally, when I’ve asked my friends about their college decision stories, there’s a lot of talk of visiting schools and comparing Financial Aid packages, there’s a first choice and a safety net, and in many cases, the story ends with either an acceptance of second-best or a coin flip to help steady an indecisive mind.
Their stories make me wonder how on earth I managed to fix my mind on one school from beginning to end and pursue it, desperately and determinedly, always with the conviction that I could make things work.
I heard about Loyola by chance. One of my friends was in the area our junior year, visiting Loyola and a few other schools, and for whatever reason, on this campus, she thought of me. She sent me a text, insisting that I would love it, insisting that I search them online and look at their English department, insisting that this was the perfect school for me. At that point, my mind was barely engaged with the college hunt. I had a vague idea of going to a Jesuit university near my house, but little particular desire to go far away to some dazzling university that would turn me into an erudite academic. I had done well on the ACT, my GPA was high enough to qualify for most scholarships, and I was unconcerned. I wanted to be an English professor, and since no college but a liberal arts college was paying particular attention to their humanities programs, and since undergrad is more or less inconsequential except in terms of setting one up for graduate school, I saw little reason to adopt the frenzied, college-obsessed attitude that typically rears its head second semester of junior year.
This status of only mild interest changed irrevocably once I’d spent no more than twenty minutes on the Loyola website. The first post I found on the English department page was an announcement that several graduate students had been offered and accepted tenure track jobs. There was another announcement about a talk delivered on Virginia Woolf, who was by then my favourite author. In that moment, the world that I wanted, the world that I could have, of academia and books and lectures, became real.
I applied to more than just one school, of course, and I was accepted to more than one as well. Loyola remained my first choice from beginning to end, though, and here I am, just as happy as I always wanted to be. I live in a metropolis, at a beautiful Jesuit university, with a world of possibilities always at my fingertips. Deciding on a school was, in many ways, the easiest decision I’ve ever made.