Making Choices

By Eduard Ciobanu 10/27/2011

This summer I was invited to attend a 5-week summer program at Williams College, which is where I will be attending in the fall.  Only 18 students were chosen based on a lottery.  I had been notified that during the initial selection, I was not chosen, but that if anyone declined there would be another drawing to fill the spot.  I was chosen the second time and I knew I had to go.  However, the dates of the program conflicted with the Boys Junior Volleyball National Championships in July.  Every practice and tournament was designed in preparation for the National Championships.  I was standing at a fork in the road: either I choose to go on the summer program at Williams or I choose to go to the National Championships.

I sought the advice of friends and family, but ultimately I had to make the decision.  By weighing out the pros and cons of each, I came to a final verdict.  The summer program came at no cost to me, and even gave me money to compensate for what I would’ve made at a summer job.  It was designed for students from underrepresented minority groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.  I knew I would meet other students as well as professors during my time there.  While most freshmen would be scrambling to their next class, I could relax, knowing exactly where each building was located.  I deliberated back and forth as to which path would be most beneficial for my future.  While I would’ve loved to go to Nationals, it was only 5 days as opposed to 5 weeks at Williams.  There wasn’t a guarantee that we would play well at Nationals, but I would be guaranteed one of the eighteen spots at Williams.  Seeing as my parents didn’t know about the college process and college life, I would have to discover it for myself.  This was the perfect opportunity to learn what college was like.

We took four classes, like we would during the semester.  I was particularly interested in the math class, where we discussed more on how to think than the actual solving for problem sets.  We were challenged into finding solutions to smaller problems, one step at a time, to lead up to the final answer.  When faced with a tough situation, we can give up or think it through.  This class taught us how to solve problems, in class and in life - the application of this principle is limitless.  We also went on a hike through the breath-taking Berkshire Mountains.  This was one of my favorite experiences during my time there.  I chose Williams because of the academic environment; however, most of my time will be spent outside the classroom.  The physical environment lends itself to hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and more.  I know that when I’ve spent too much time with my head in the books, I can go out and enjoy the surrounding nature. 

 If you have a chance to see a school you are interested in, go see it!  You can read all the facts or rankings, but it’s not the same as actually being on campus.  Meeting people and professors reveals much more than an informational brochure.  College visits are crucial in deciding where you want to attend.  Once you step on campus, you get a feel of the atmosphere.  Can you imagine yourself here for the next four years of your life?  It’s a huge decision, and knowing as much about a college will make it easier.  Fly-out programs are even more beneficial.  You are actually living on campus, meeting other students, and sitting in on classes.  It is as close to college as you can get.  I would highly recommend visiting colleges that you are interested in.  Schuler exposed us to various colleges, many of which I had never heard of.  Be open when you visit these schools: you may end up really liking it and applying there.

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