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CCK Goes to College: Part 1

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CCK Goes to College

Even from those of you who have followed my blog all along, I’ve kept much of my personal life a mystery. Partially, I was worried about privacy. However, I also simply didn’t think anyone would be interested in hearing about my daily life. But since I seem to be wrong (I love hearing about others’ lives too), here’s a little more about what I’ve been up to these past few years. I won’t start at the very beginning, even though Julie Andrews says it’s a very good place to start. Instead, I’ll start with my senior year of high school.

I’m embarrassed to say I was a college-hunting snob in high school. If it wasn’t Ivy League, I didn’t even want to look at a school. I very much wish I could go back and tell my high-school self how crazy her thinking was.

I fell in love with UPenn as soon as I set foot on campus. The only problem: Nobody told them that Katie was destined for their school. When the college letter arrived, it was suspiciously thin.

My dream school waitlisted me?!

Looking back, I know the waitlist letter (ultimately a rejection) didn’t have anything to do with my worth; it simply meant the admissions people decided I wasn’t the right fit at the time. To me, though, it felt like I wasn’t good enough. Irrationally, I still feel a little ashamed admitting my rejection, years later.

After shedding many tears over the matter (and throwing the waitlist letter in the fire. Burn! Muahahahahaha!), I settled on Bryn Mawr College. It was quiet and peaceful but also close to an urban setting. It was liberal (and far from home!), and it even participated in a consortium with UPenn, meaning I could take classes at my dream school.

BMC was a terrific school, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting great girls and taking advantage of the school’s close proximity to Philadelphia. (I even prefer Philly to NYC, because it’s smaller and more manageable whilst still being jam-packed with fun.) But the school, itself, wasn’t right for me. You know how sometimes you can feel—in your heart—that something’s just not right? For me, Bryn Mawr was too small. It was difficult to get into all the classes I desired, since most only offered one section. I found myself signed up for classes simply because they fit my schedule: NOT cool when you’re paying for each course. And so, having scratched the “need to get away from home” itch, I transferred to SMU in Dallas. This post is getting super-long, so I think I’ll shut up…  until Part 2.

Update: click for My College Story: Part Two.

Question of the Day:
How did you choose what college to attend, if you attended one? (Or, how do you plan to choose?)

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Ilana says:

    You said “Let’s start at the very beginning” and I sang outloud “a very good place to staaaart” and then I read the rest of the sentence. Haha!

    I *know* how you felt! The embarrassment! I went to a performing arts high school and I was kind of the “star singer.” Everyone and their mom expected me to go to Julliard (even though I honestly didn’t want to!!) … so I sent my CD in for a premliminary audition, and they didn’t even ask to see me in person! So embarrassing. Then I didn’t get into my #1 school either (NYU), and sudden;y all my friends were being accepted to college and all I had left were the state schools I’d applied to. I got in for music performance and music education, and chose music performance. Apparently it didn’t matter, though … by the end of the first semester I’d dropped the music program (loathed it!), picked up an English major, and decided to transfer back to the city. I went to Queens College, a public school, and now I think i have developed “reverse snobbery.” I’m the only person in my family who goes to a public school (now I’m studying towards grad school) – all seven of my brothers/step siblings go to private schools and their tuition all costs at least 10x mine, if not 20x, so I’m proud not only of my fiscally responsible education choice but also the fact that I have received a FANTASTIC education and will continue to receive it, in the hallowed halls of public ed.

    1. Ilana, Oh my gosh, my grandma went to both Queens College AND Julliard! :)
      P.S. NYU turns down all the best students; my sister didn’t get in either. I hate that school! :(

  2. rachael says:

    Your college story sounds a bit like mine. Can’t wait to hear the rest :)

  3. That sucks the 1st one wasn’t right for you :(
    I picked my uni cos it was an hour from home,whcih meant I could keep on riding my horse at weekends. It sucked though – my ED took over, I had no friends and I ended up moving back home and commuting!! I’ve got 1 year left now..I can’t wait for it to be over!

  4. I love these CCV life story posts! Thank you for sharing with us! :)

  5. Katie says:

    I loved reading about your real life!! Sounds like it worked out in the end…I thought seriously about transferring in college too, but I never bit the bullet. I felt like I had worked too hard to move and didn’t want my classes to not count for anything. I went to CU in Boulder, CO. I only applied to one school and I went there. It wasn’t perfect for me (way too big and liberal) – but I DID meet my husband there, got a degree, and now have a job doing what I want to do, so it all worked out. :-)

    I had a good friend that went to SMU! I always thought it sounded like a good place to be!

  6. abby says:

    thank you so much for sharing. that was so brave. sharing rejection stories are always hard. for me, i never want to show anyone that i’m less than perfect, so i can really appreciate how much courage it takes to write something like you did. i STILL don’t tell people what colleges didn’t accept me! but in your case (and mine too) it is just a case of too many kids who are worthy, and the luckier ones, not the “better” ones get to go.

  7. Leslie says:

    Perfect SAT scores?!?
    I knew you were smart, and it shows through your post, but OMG!!!
    Haha, bows to CCV :)

  8. Love this post Katie – it is really interesting. :) Looking forward to part 2!

  9. Oh, Katie. You are so much wiser than I was … I followed a guy to college (to the University of Tennessee, not exactly a prestigious school). The guy and I broke up before I even started freshman year, but UT turned out to be a great place for me. It is a great school for Nuclear Engineering; they let me very easily pursue a second major, minor, honors degree (pretty much anything I want); it’s a big school with a great party atmosphere and a great study atmosphere, if you know where to look. It’s also secretly one of the best schools for what I studied in grad school and hope to do for a living someday (empirical modeling for system health monitoring). I ended up staying at UT for nine years (well, technically I’m still there as a post-doc right now), and I think it was probably the best decision I could have made. You’ve inspired me to maybe do a post soon about how I ended up at my college and in my field. Can’t wait to see how yours turned out :)

    1. radioactivegan,
      I wish I’d gone to UT originally! Most of my friends went there, and they had an amazing time. Plus, with warm weather AND a fun atmosphere, you can’t get much better than Austin!

  10. Gisela says:

    Hey Katie,
    It would be great if you could do a post on eating healthy on vacation, especially how you deal with when you first arrive and haven’t had time to go grocery shopping yet. I always struggle with that! And working out too. Love your blog by the way!

  11. christina says:

    omg katie you better finish that story!!!! i loved it so far. you wrote it so well and i’m curious for more! :)

  12. lovelisa says:

    u are beautiful! and i love your outfit!

  13. McKella says:

    I wasn’t picky with schools. I ended up going to Weber State, which is in my hometown. It wasn’t my first choice. I had a bunch of theater scholarships to other schools, but it didn’t feel right, so I dumped them to study art at Weber because it was close to home, so I stayed with my parents while I worked to pay tuition. I changed my major a year later to study English Creative Writing, because I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was four years old.
    I’m a first-generation college student, so I didn’t feel the need to get into an “impressive” school, I just wanted a Bachelor’s from an accredited school. Also, the schools out here are much cheaper, only a few hundred per course.
    I graduated with my Bachelor’s in May, and I just turned 22! One big life goal down!

  14. Laura says:

    Hi katie!
    i actually had a similar experience. i had perfect SAT scores too, an impressive list of extracurriculars (including varsity softball and volleyball, haha!) as well as yearbook editor and drama club president. i had my heart dead-set on Yale. But, unfortunately (or so i thought), so did about 30 of my smartest classmates. i went to an extremely prestigious, small private high school in Houston, TX (have you heard of St. John’s????!!!!??) so every other person who applied to Yale was insanely qualified as well. it turns out, only 4 out of 30 people ended up getting in to Yale, and i was not one of them. i had the same “ivy league complex” as you and was pretty devastated. But, then i fell in love with the University of Southern California (USC). i visited the campus and decided it was absolutely perfect for me. i am NOT a cold-weather girl, i am very social and wanted a school with greek life and a great social scene, and i love football, so USC seemed like the perfect place for me. OH MY GOD. i could not imagine my life without USC. Not getting into Yale was SUCH a blessing because i literally could not be any happier than i am at USC. i have already made some incredible connections and am 100% positive that i will end up being more successful in life and my career than i would have been at Yale. if i could send a message to all high school seniors stressing about college, i would tell them that you HAVE to follow your heart, because the perfect place for you may not be where you have dreamed of going all your life!!
    PS i have a TON of friends that go to SMU b/c i am from Houston!!!
    PPS i LOVE your blog!!!

    1. Laura,
      Wow, seriously, we sound like the exact same person! I am so happy I didn’t get into UPenn, if for no other reason than the fact that it opened my eyes to the fact that there are good schools outside of the Ivies (and good students who go to them!). I’ve never heard of St. John’s, but then again, I don’t really know the Houston area too well. But I’m so glad to hear your situation worked out for the best, too. Things have a funny way of doing that, it seems! :)

  15. Lyza says:

    Hey, were you ever on the track team at Bryn mawr?! A friend I used to have was the captain, her name was Jessica…I’d always hear crazy stories about how the coach was the real hey there delilah, and about all the lesbian parties and stuff!! That’s so crazy that you went there lol! And then the whole Luke Wilson drama…lol.

    I adore your site, it’s helped me eat way healthier :) I actually really don’t even eat desserts now, healthy or not, but it was definitely a step forward for me in my quest to do so!

    Now that I think about it, there are some things I do–I love putting lots of bittersweet cocoa, blueberries and cinnamon in my oatmeal–I don’t consider that a dessert bc it’s so healthy :) I guess it kinda is though!

    My little sister will be attending Smith College this year, which is semi-nearby. It’s exciting!

    Just thought that was interesting that a blog I follow was so close to some people I knew!

    1. Lyza,
      I actually wasn’t on the team… but I had a friend who was.

      LOL yes, the Lesbian parties were insane. Honestly, it was a bit much for me. I’m not homophobic (nor conservative), but it was culture shock coming from a small, conservative Texas town. But we did have one “Bra party” that was pretty awesome. And it was amazing to see all the girls rocking their bodies in their bras, bot caring about body image because there were no boys to see them!

  16. katie says:

    hey there!!! I live on long island!!!! where on long island are u going? u can email me for privacy lol :-) so cool if we could do a meet up! xoxoo

  17. I got rejected from my first choice college too – Amherst! I even applied early decision. I was super embarrassed because my boyfriend at the time was already enrolled there. Like you, I “settled” and went to UMass Amherst for two years but I hated it. The school just wasn’t right for me, so I transferred to Penn State as a junior. My family has a long history of PSU graduates and I’ve been a life-long fan. I was very happy there and am soooo glad I went! Looking back, Amherst didn’t even have my major – I was just caught up in the prestige and wanting to be with my bf. Everything worked out in end though, because I loved Penn State and I married Lucas! :)

  18. Katie says:

    That’s funny you went to Bryn Mawr, that is really close to me (I live in the philly burbs) lol! My story is sort of the opposite (reverse snobbery). I went to a really prestigious public school district where everyone is rich thin smart and pretty (where i live it’s hard to believe there is any type of obesity problem in the us). I, on the other hand as an angsty teen, was not going to buy into any of it. (and yes i was vegetarian). I skipped class, cut pep rallies, joined 1 extracurricular (b/c my parents forced me) and pretty much didn’t try. I went to community college and got my degree and realized I loved college! I transfered to Temple University (in philly!) but it wasn’t the right fit (too big!) and i transfered to a small private school in the city. So, anyway not that you really care about my life , but it just goes to show you never know where you are going to end up. As John Lennon says ,” life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

    1. Katie,
      You rock for defying the norms! Ooh, and Temple is kinda a kindred school to Bryn Mawr, cause we’re both owls :)!

  19. Mitri says:

    I thought I had to go to prestigious, private, liberal arts schools, too. 😉 I got into Hamilton and Ithaca in NY, got rejected by Skidmore, Middlebury, etc. Went to Ithaca because of scholarship… and there were a lot of nice things about the school, but I just wasn’t super happy and I missed my bf and family terribly. Now I go to a LOT less prestigious school here in Texas, but I’m happier. :)

    I know what you mean though, about being irrationally embarrassed or disappointed… I KNOW I’m happier here, but there’s some personal/social/cultural expectation that I should be at some really high-up school, doing “great things”– whatever those things are! 😛

    1. Mitri,
      My cousin went to Ithaca! She loved it. It’s cold though!! LOL

  20. Rachel says:

    Your photo is cute! i was always the *star* art student, was in every art club, drew and painted like a fiend, everyone wanted me to go to an art school, but they’re hard to afford and i really didn’t want to be so engrossed in a singular subject. I also wanted to stay close to home, my mom and I knew that a close (10 minutes away) community college would be good for now. The art teachers there are great! I’m transferring to a local uni next year, everyone is still pushing me for art school though. I feel like the world is making me out to be a modern day Leonardo da Vinci and it’s frustrating, it’s not that i’m modest, but i KNOW i still have the ability to progress so much more. After being over-glorified constantly, I get discourage when I don’t get scholarships, it’s sort of a kick in the pants.

    sorry for the novel!

  21. I went to University of Illinois, which is a really good state school and one of the best engineering programs in the country (I was a CS major). All of it was kind of randomly chosen though. Everyone thought I should apply to MIT and Berkeley, but realistically, the costs were so high in comparison, I never got around to applying to those places. I was looking at this dinky, private, engineering school, but my bf at the time was also at U of I, so lo and behold, I went there. Ironically, we broke up before I even started college (he was a year older); talk about awkward. However, I had a really great time at that school and got good job offers afterward (the same sorts of places if I had gone to MIT), for a much cheaper price tag. :)

    Now grad school, that may be a different story…

  22. *Andrea* says:

    thanks for sharing!!!! college admission process is so lame in my opinion – such a crapshoot! certain colleges accept more from certain high schools or ‘feeders’ and then there’s the whole legacy thing, blahblah haha. one kid form my high school got into harvard but not boston college (where i graduated this spring)! so random. anyways i got into all the schools i applied to but it was such a difficult decision..i ultimately chose bc over georgetown because it would save my parents money for visits (no airplane necessary) and for moving in, etc. i also got a general feeling of happiness on the campus- the beautiful architecture, my admission to the honors program, the benefits of being in a middle size school close to the city but in a quiet area. however, not being at an ivy created feelings of inadequacy in me, which is silly! and i remember being mad at myself for not applying to any ivy league schools.

  23. Totally chose my University because of the reputation, brand and name.

    But after attending it for 2 years, I’d never switch and that for different reason! I love the fact that it’s small, and you are not 200 in a class but 30. I love that you will get the same teacher but in 2 different class and you will cross the same student over and over again.

    And in the end, it will look good in my resume .. hehe

  24. maxinthegym says:

    I’m still choosing! But I’m going based on courses, location, and name! I want to go to either University of Southern California or Ohio University :) But if by chance I got into Brown or Stanford I would literally jump for joy!

  25. Janna says:

    Yay! I love reading about you!

    I actually planned to go to university in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada part time while continuing on in hopes of pursuing a career in dance. However, first semester of senior year I tore my ACL, so my dreams of dancing were sort of …destroyed. :) I decided it would be a good time to leave home and thought I should go to the University of Toronto. It was a big city, which I liked and I had family there. My best friend was visiting some schools in the east and asked me to accompany her. We looked at the university of Toronto and I instantly hated it! Our final school was McGill in Montreal. As soon as I stepped foot on campus I said to myself “I HAVE to go here”. I hadn’t even considered it before, but I just KNEW. I applied, and got accepted! And it was pretty much the best decision I ever made to go there. Best 4 years of my life :)

  26. Kiersten says:

    It’s too bad you got rejected from your first choice. I think everything happens for a reason though. I know what you mean about just feeling like something is not right with the school you’re in…I went to culinary school for 3 years before switching schools and majors. I had fun in culinary school and learned a lot, but deep down I knew that it wasn’t right for me. It was also a very small (and snooty) school and I really couldn’t stand the people there. I started at UNC last fall and I absolutely love it. I am not sorry that I went to another school first though, because if I didn’t I don’t think I would have ended up where I am right now.

  27. BroccoliHut says:

    I’ll admit that I had the same attitude when college hunting, although when I applied to Duke I figured I wouldn’t get in. Lo and behold, I was accepted despite my doubts, and that’s how my college career was born.

  28. Great story, Katie! When I was graduating, my fellow classmates were pretty much split between going to the two major colleges in Alabama. I didn’t want to, I refused to go to a common school! I wanted to go to Florida Univ., somewhere in SC, back to TN..anywhere but Alabama. Ultimately, I ended up choosing Auburn (in AL) on a whim ’cause freshmen didn’t have to live on campus. It turned out to be a fantastic choice and I’ve loved it. They have a program perfect for what I’m going into so everything worked out. :) Glad it worked out for you, too!

  29. Meredith says:

    I went to a women’s college too! Though mine was even smaller than BMC. I went to Hollins University, a school with only 800 students! One of my friends senior year told me she was only applying to women’s colleges, and when I asked her why she impressed me with a list of statistics about how while only 2% of female college graduates attended women’s colleges, they made up very large numbers of Congresswomen and CEO’s of the top Fortune 500 companies. Having struggled with a lot of shyness as well as an eating disorder, I felt like a women’s college would help me become a strong, confident woman . . . and it did! I had so many leadership opportunities, and I loved the small class sizes. There wasn’t the obsession with looks that I think there can be with men around. It was wonderful! It completely changed my life for the better. :)

  30. vegetalion says:

    I didn’t know a lot about college searches when I searched for college–I picked one that looked pretty good and was close to home, so I could visit my family often. I was really happy there the first year, a little less so the 2nd but not UNhappy, then it went downwards enough that by senior year I really wished I’d put more thought into the selection process. I got through fine, but I think it’s great that you know what you want now–and that you’re willing to take steps to get away from what you don’t want.

  31. This post was excellent for me! I’ll be applying to colleges soon. In order to decide, my family and I are taking lost of visits, and UPenn is on the list! Like yourself, I’m a great student. Thank you for this post, it’s very relevant to my life at the moment. :)

  32. P.S. . . How in the world do you pre-set your posts!? I’d be really interested in that feature. Thanks!

    1. A Teenage Gourmet,
      When you go to hit publish, just look at the time it says the post will be published. Then, set that time for a time AHEAD of the current time and hit “publish.” Does that make sense? :)

  33. Jennifer - jcd says:

    What a story. I think things are different in Canada. Everyone I know went to local university or technical school based on which one offered the career path you desired. Simple. Two or three (of 300) went abroad for a gap year. I think one moved to the coast to do marine biology.

    However, I had some misfortunes in my last year of secondary school. I wanted to join the Canadian Forces. Badly. I did a lot of research and came up with the two positions I wanted to apply for. After months of tests (physical and mental/written) I got a call that broke my heart: I had an eye condition (that 50% of people have) which disqualified me for the two jobs I wanted. They offered me any other job except communications or PR (my English scores sucked). I didn’t want any other job… I wanted to be a flight navigator. A friend of mine got turned down for the same two positions for the same reason. Bummer. Looking back, there were many other good jobs I could have taken and still been happy with, but oh well. (I think my parents tried to tell me this back then, but I refused to listen. Typical 16 year old.) Star student couldn’t get her dream job. That stage of my life was over.

    Next chapter… Engineering at the University of Alberta. I loved building things and what not, and all my teachers said I should do it, so I did. I was good at some parts but hated it. Way too much theory, too many student, huge classes, and the cut-throat competition killed me. For my job shadow to determine which type of Engineering I would go into the following year, I went somewhere and saw models and drawings of buildings and such. I wanted to do that. Close that chapter. I was done with University. That shattered my next dream of becoming a science teacher. (After my Engineering degree I wanted to take the fast-track education degree.)

    Final chapter… I transferred to a local technical school to become someone who makes those models and drafting drawings. It was the best course ever! We got to draw, play with models, solve problems, go on field trips, build things, and everything I like. It was heaps fun!

    Now, that’s my job, and has been for 7 years now. (Has it really been that long?) Inside my head, I still want to be a flight navigator (or an astronaut) and be a teacher, but you never know where life will lead you.

    Wow… that was a novel!

    1. JCD, Ah, but it was an interesting novel! And I find it so funny (in a cool way) that we can be friends even though we’re SO dissimilar. Given my fear of flying, I think “astronaut” would fall at the very BOTTOM of my list!

  34. Faith says:

    This is a great post!

    I liked my university. I had amazing friends, tons of experiences, and a good education, but I wouldn’t have chosen it again if I had to go back and do it again. It was much too small for me, and because it was a private/Christian college, the rules were far stricter than I’d have liked. My family was paying, so they felt entitled to make the choice for me (not collaborate on a choice, actually MAKE the choice), and although I made the best of it and did enjoy my time there, I would have strongly preferred a larger, more liberal school.

  35. mapledreams says:

    I’m so scared about applying for universtities or college too so i’m looking forward to part two! xx

  36. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!! I have really always wanted to know more about you :)
    I grew up in the Dallas area too and a lot of my friends went to Hockaday. I remember 1 year in particular that about 5 of my friend’s brothers who went to St. Marks all went to UPenn!
    Choosing a college wasn’t hard for me. I had great grades and SAT scores..but not a lot of money! I was a huge debate nerd in high school and ended up going to Texas Tech on a debate scholarship! I ended up not really liking Lubbock but I stuck it out and I’m finally moving to Illinois for grad school next month!
    Grad school is where I feel I have a lot in common with you! I was being snobby about where I wanted to go and applied to a bunch of elite schools that I really KNEW weren’t a good fit- I just wanted to go there for the fancy name… I got rejected from all the fancy schools except for Rutgers, and I was SO excited! Until I found out how much it costs to live in Jersey…and that I was only getting a partial scholarship! A small school called Eastern IL University offered me a full-ride and when I visited, I fell in love with the school and the prospect of being a mere 3 hour drive from Chicago! Anyways… I have no idea why I am rambling on about myself to you! Can’t wait to read your Part 2!

  37. clemmy says:

    I had a very similar college experience to yours…. but im in the uk, so it was university for me, not college (arent they the same thing tho?!?!)
    I have always been more of a creative person, lets just say that maths and science were NOT my strengths!! so when i decided that i wanted to go to art college instead of a regular uni, i immediatly thought, well i should go to london! big city, lots of galleries… surely a great choice for studying art. well although in theory it was all these things, the actual uni was small and even though it is considered one fo the best art schools in england, i found that it was more about the ‘name’, rather than the college. Being in a big city, studio space was in the minority and we had to share alot of our resources so often taking a particular class was impossible due to the high demand and lack of spaces. Also being in a drop-in drop=out environment meant that it was difficult to make many friends as nobody was in one place for long enough to bond! I found myself feeling a little lost and lonely. Which made me reflect this feeling on the city. London is an amazing place if you’ve got people to share it with, on your own it can be incredibly isolating with the hustle and bustle all around you but nobody really noticing you.
    I got through the degree but then moved back to the countryside, which i appreciate SO much more now that im out of the hectic city lifestyle. Im lucky enough to live near enough to still enjoy the perks of london life, but distant enough to come home and enjoy the grass and trees of the country.

    I think i learnt that just because its a good named school, doesnt mean its right for you….! you have to find something that fits you as a person not you on paper.

    Thankyou for sharing your part 1 college experience! Im loving this new ‘get to know CCK’ thing, i feel like im finally meeting the girl behind one of my fave blogs! x

    1. Clemmy,
      My smile is brighter than the sunshine outside my window right now, thanks to your sweet comment :).
      (And sorry for the lame analogy hehe)

  38. I can totally relate to being embarrassed by a rejection like that, despite having succeeding at so many other things (in all areas of life, not necessarily getting into college). In high school, I always heard that I could go anywhere I wanted (despite going to an extremely small public high school without even AP classes). However, I only applied to one place – a small, public university only a couple hours from my house. I didn’t even really think about it, I just knew I wanted to go there. I heard lots of comments about “oh that’s just a party school” yada yada yada. Well I had the most incredible experience of my life. I learned so much, met so many amazing people, had countless wonderful experiences, and I could go on and on. No, it wasn’t the best school in the country, or even in the state for that matter. But I received attention and opportunities I wouldn’t have had at a bigger school. A professor told me that people who are motivated and enthusiastic will “bloom wherever they are planted”. It’s not about prestige or reputation of a school (or job), it’s what you make of it and what’s best for you.

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!

  39. Caroline says:

    What a good story, Katie. It just goes to show how crazy and unpredicatable the process has become. Many of the adults I’ve spoken to can’t even begin to comprehend how competitive it is now. I’ve found that what you say about public vs. private schools is true…I think private schools really help students get their name out there. There are some public schools that are really well-known by top schools, but otherwise it’s just so. hard.

    Of course, the Ivy League is simply a sports conference! Bryn Mawr and SMU are top schools too–tons of people overlook great schools because of name obsessions…where I come from, that happened a lot and I’ll admit I wasn’t immune to it either. My friend was a big history buff and wanted to go to Bryn Mawr more than anything (she got in :) and is attending).

    I thought I had all my ducks in line this winter when I picked my dream school (Yale), got in touch with the running coach, got on his “short list,” committed, and then had all of my scores (not perfect like yours), grades, etc. Come April 1, I got rejected. Then I narrowed my options down to two schools, and I chose based on my gut feeling and by asking several teachers and people in academia where they thought I should go. The answer was basically unanimous. Finally, I got in touch with people at the school…professors, researchers, etc. and found that they had everything I wanted–interesting research I could participate in, an awesome cross country team, etc. Oh, and substance-free housing!

    Like you, I was interested in a big university, not a small college. I like the atmosphere with grad. students around and I like all of the resources…like more lectures, seminars, courses, etc.

    Hope you’re having fun in NYC…I was there on Tuesday…it’s a great place to be.

  40. I picked my undergrad and (as of this fall!) grad schools based on their programs. My undergrad is in French Literature so a really great study abroad program was important to me. I loved my undergrad but at the same time I felt that it could have been a bit more openminded and intellectual. My department was great by the rest of the school-eh. For grad school I’m studying Literature and Gender Studies so I really had to be carefully in choosing what type of philosophy was involved with the department. I wanted to find good matches for my memoir. I hope it goes well! And I cant wait for part 2!

    Thanks for stopping by also! I’m such a sucker for black cats too. :)

  41. Carbzilla says:

    I got into every school I applied to EXCEPT for Stanford where my mom went (back in ’55 when it had to be a LOT easier to get into). It was a hard choice after that…did I want to go where my two best friends were going (yes!), but did I really want to go to a girls’ school after a small private (read: no dating) high school (no!). I ended up going to Santa Clara University because it meant a lot to my dad (it was a BIG deal among his cronies, though he didn’t go there). I knew right away I didn’t belong there but, frankly, I made the best of it and it seemed harder to transfer than to just tough it out. I do not keep in touch with one person I went to school with. Many of them got married at 22 or 23 and just started to pump out the kids. Not for me.

    I don’t spend a lot of time regretting it, but I do wish I had put a little more thought into it and didn’t settle for what was comfortable (I’m sure if I’d stayed in the Silicon Valley and become a gazilionaire I’d be singing a different tune altogether).

  42. Kelsey says:

    yay a ‘series’ post on school! love that ur sharing!!

    k first of all u look absolutely STUNNING in your little black dress. you are so gorgeous Katie!!!

    I really like this post because I relate a lot to having been rejected from colleges. when I graduated high school i spent 3 years worknig a bit and then dealing with health issues. i felt liek a failure and put my self worth on the shoulders of people i felt had the motivation to get their life together. As you can imagine this was dumb, and only added unecessary stress in my life.

    when i ended up applying to 2 school i was rejected and felt even MORE terrible… not only did i feel like i spent too long avoid furthur education, now i only felt justified that i was stupid and couldnt even get an education if i tried. the only positive that came form this was realizing that the only reason college never worked for me was because i truly didnt want it, my life direction didnt align with what i was trying to be or thought i should be.

    i signed up for a yoga teacher training which starts in september, and since getting accepted (rather quickly;) i realized YES I AM SMART! its all about finding what works for you and is something/some type of education that will fulfill you and motivate you through passion!

    and in the end, thats all that matters :)

    xoxo <3

  43. Isn’t it funny how things look when you look back? Gosh, if I just had a little bit of the wisdom then that I have now. Well, not sure if it is wisdom or that reality kicks in? As for schools, I went to culinary school at The Art Institute. I wanted to study nutrition, but my parents thought that having a chef in the family sounded better. My parents are more of how things look. Me, I really just wanted to do something I was interested in. Oh well, I enjoy healthy food and going to school there has taught me how to deal with our food restrictions now.

    Have a great weekend!

  44. Well I had to choose from a bunch of California schools that I applied to. Being from Austin, TX, I didn’t know much about California, so my college visits were very important. I didn’t like UCSD or USD very much for differing reasons. I didn’t want to wait until Spring to go to USC (I had turned in a paper late so I got in for Spring instead of Fall) and I didn’t really want to go to Pepperdine because of the religious aspect (I wanted as liberal an education as possible). And when I visited UCSB, I really liked the triathlon team and beautiful scenery! So I went there, but it turns out it hasn’t been quite the fit I was hoping for. So this coming Fall I am transferring to UC Davis! I am nervous, I hope its a good fit! I will be majoring in Nutritional Biochemistry, so if all else fails, at least I will be studying something I love!
    I can relate to the sadness of being rejected from a dream school. I had my heart SET on Berkeley and did some pretty nuts stuff (like attending two schools at once…) in order to get in to transfer this coming year. But I didn’t get in. I hope in the long run that it is a blessing in disguise! Perhaps grad school…!

  45. Joliene says:

    Sometime during my junior year of high school, thinking I would go into the field of teaching, I decided that I would go to San Francisco State and save loads of money, since I was anticipating going into teaching. By the time I got to senior year, I settled on San Jose State, because of its proximity to Santa Cruz (which is where I thought my boyfriend was going to school). Boyfriend went to Santa Barbara, and I, having only applied to SJ State (early admission), stayed there. It all worked out because I changed my major to Comparative Religion (SJ has an awesome RelS program) and my boyfriend and I broke up at the end of our sophmore year anyway. Sometimes things work out better than you expect. I’m not teaching now; I’m working in a field more relevant to my study of Comparative Religion and am contemplating going for a M.Div. in the future :)

  46. I loved reading about your college story! I found it very interesting considering I’ll be applying for University in a few short years. I’m actually going to start online courses this next semester – eek! I’m nervous, to say the least.

    Aww, you are so sweet! Thank you for the shout-out, and thank you for zooming in on the appetizing part of the bowl. The messy edges certainly were not pretty. 😛 You’re the best! <3

  47. Emily says:

    Such a great story, Katie! It must have been so disappointing not to get into the school of your dreams, but things end up working out even when we don’t think they will. :-) I chose my college based on my major (dietetics). At that time, there weren’t a lot of private schools with a dietetics program, so it sort of made it easy. :-) As for grad school, I chose Ohio State based on the research that the professors were doing and the fact that they offered me a full ride. I ranked my dietetic internship based on my desire to go into a pediatric specialty. I think that my job search process is similar to your college search process…it’s very hard as a new grad to find something that I’m both passionate about and that is available to an entry level person.

    Can’t wait to read more!

  48. Stepped onto the grounds at UVA and knew that was it for me…luckily my early decision deferral turned into an acceptance. :)

  49. kathleen says:

    I never knew that about you. I know a bunch of kids that go to UPenn because my friend goes to college in Philly and we like to crash frat parties there when I visit. teehee. I was just there in the spring.

    My college experience has been… um… interesting? Basically, I’m on a leave of absence at the moment. And loving it. Maybe too much. But I do plan on officially transferring at some point.

  50. Oh this is such a good post for me, Katie, because i am currently in the process of finding which school to go to. It’s so hard to know because there are literally thousands of schools out there! Its actually really beneficial for me to read about all the commenters stories!

    I know I want to do something with food science and nutrition. But the question is should it be a medical degree? a scientist degree? homeopathic or traditional? Then there’s the fact that only a small percentage of the schools offer food science and nutrition majors. I also know that I should receive some kind of scholarship for tennis. If it is a northern school, it would be easier to get onto the team with a full-ride. However, if it is a southern school (which I REALLY want to stay in the south, because I just don’t do well health-wise in the cold) it would be much harder to get on the team with a scholarship!!! Ugh….so many decisions!

    1. Spoonfulofsugarfree,
      I hear you! My one tennis friend was one of the best in the STATE and even she had to go to North Dakota in order to get a scholarship! 😕

  51. It’s funny our college dreams change when reality kicks in. I dreamed of going to San Francisco State. As a writer, I NEEDED to be close to the spirits of my beatnik muses — Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. My mom and I even planned a trip to SF to see the school my senior year, but then I found out that having perfect grades (I was valedictorian) meant getting a free pass to the university in my hometown. At the same time, we were turned down for a Pell Grant because my parents made too much money (ironically though, not enough to actually pay for me to go through San Francisco State without me getting loans….the curse of the middle class, right?). So, I ended up taking the free ride at Arkansas State, living in the same town as my parents throughout college….looking back, I’m kinda glad. I got a totally free college education, and while all my friends are paying back loans, I’m practically debt-free.

  52. Ann Claire says:

    Though I don’t comment as often as I should, I’ve been an avid reader of your blog since I discovered it a few weeks ago (l’ve even gone back and read some of your older post and have plans to make fudge babies super soon). Anyway, I really love what you’re doing with your blog! The new being real stuff is great! Though all your recipes look amazing, it’s great learning about the girl behind the recipes. I appreciate your honestly and willingness to share even your rejections! Keep rocking the blogging world Chocolate Covered Katie!

    1. Ann Claire,
      Thank you so much! I know it seems ridiculous that I’d be embarrassed to admit I didn’t get into a certain college; I mean, people get rejection letters from colleges every day. But still, I feel self-conscious, so getting kind comments from people like you really helps! You’re a super-sweetheart (and I love that you said “super soon.” Putting “super” in front of a word just makes everything sound more fun!).

  53. carolinebee says:

    Awww Katie I’m so happy you shared this personal story with us!! I definitely always wanted to go to USC, but I think there were other (cheaper, public but really good) schools I would have gone to if i had gotten into them! But, ya know, isn’t it just great how it all *works* out so perfectly in the end?? There is just NO NO way i would be even close to where i am now, or as happy, if i had taken a different path! I’m glad to hear u followed that “feeling” 😀 xo

  54. shesarunner says:

    First of all, I just want to say that I think it’s hilarious that you think this post is long…my average post is at least twice as wordy! But I talk a lot in my writing to make up for the fact that I’m pretty quiet in real life (well…sometimes I’m quiet haha). Anyway, I’ll stop making fun of myself for a second and say that I’m really happy you shared this! I think that a lot of people do not get in to their dream schools, or their lives don’t turn out as they had originally planned (my life is definitely different than I ever expected it to be when I was growing up) so I’m sure we all can relate to you on some level.
    When I was applying for university, I was in very poor health…and all I wanted was to get away from it all and start fresh, where no one knew me or knew about my health problems. So I applied to a bunch of schools that were as far as possible from where I live. (By the way, in Canada we don’t have the whole Ivy league vs state school vs community college….We just have university or college, and they are two entirely different things here). Anyway, I ended up compromising and going to Dalhousie University, which is in Halifax, only a 2 hour flight but still far enough that I felt like I was getting away. I loved Dal- it definitely had its ups and downs due to my health, but overall I was happy with my decision. It was a beautiful campus in a beautiful city, and I appreciated the fresh start.

  55. Bryn Mawr is near where I live – I used to teach at Harriton high school which is pretty close by and passed by bryn mawr to get there for a back way. Small world!

  56. Lindsey says:

    I loved this post :)

    When I was a kid, I dreamed of college. I was obsessed. I had a folder of college-related things when I was, like, 11.
    My dream college always was, and still would be Evergreen State.
    This thing is, as I got older, I just became frustrated and tired of school. I tried to drop out 2 weeks before graduation, I’m not even kidding, I was THAT sick of it. However, my grades were too high, so even in my absence I graduated right on time. Which was a relief.
    But I didn’t go on to college. In the year after I finished high school I was hit by a car and, well, it was really bad.
    After that, I started to pursue pre-med, but then… I didn’t.
    I am naturally a writer and English-obsesser, and I would love to do anything related, but my life situation doesn’t allow me to do that right now. I think that one day I will take writing/English classes and look into becoming a physician’s assistant.

  57. I loved this post Katie :) And not because of your college plans (because that must have been hard), but because it’s personal. I only applied to 5 schools and I considered VT one of my “backup schools.” I honestly didn’t think I was going to get rejected from my top 4…and it upset me. But going to VT turned out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me 😀

    Looking forward to part 2!

  58. Allison says:

    I went to San Diego State University because I thought it was everything I would want it to be. I wanted to be a teacher and it was the best school in San Diego (where I live) to go to be a teacher. Never mind that I ended up minoring in Accounting and that’s what I ultimately went into. I am happy to have gone there to get to be in the marching band and a tiny part of the music department. That was tons of fun. Lately I have been missing college a bit. Putting aside the studying and the test taking and the homework, when you look at school as being around people who teach you things and make you think about things in a new and different way and challenge you, it is a fabulous place. (Not speaking from too much experience as most of my classes were just memorize info and show up and take test kinds of classes…or was I just that kind of student…)

    Sorry for the novel! Good question.

  59. Heather says:

    Okay, so Katie….I know this isn’t related to your post (have fun in NY btw!), but I just had to tell you.

    I’d been contemplating making some fudge babies for several months now. I’m trying to cut out/hopefully eliminate sugar, but I need something to fall back on when I absolutely MUST have something dessert-y. They looked easy enough, but the dates made me hesitate. I understand why they’re in the recipe and what their purpose is, but my only experience with dates comes from some nasty dried, sugar coated ones I found in some trail mix when I was little. (If you couldn’t tell, I hated them.)

    To get to the point: I made them. They are AMAZING!!! Really! I love them! I was ecstatic. Now I have a sugarless, much healthier alternative when I’m craving something fudgy and sweet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Not to keep beating my point over the head, but WOW. I really thought I wasn’t going to like them. People, try them. You will like. Even if you think dates are gross. :)

    1. Heather,
      Oh thank you so much! The fudge babies’ egos just inflated tenfold thanks to your comments :).

  60. I loved reading your college story Katie – I was always curious. I ended up Auburn…not sure why (Well, one reason is b/c I didn’t get into Northwestern). It wasn’t a good fit for me, but I stayed. However, I did spend my junior year abroad, and I am so grateful for that experience…may not have happened if I didn’t go to Auburn in the first place.

  61. Danielle says:

    Hey Katie, I really enjoyed reading your post! Like one of your early commenters, I went to UT Knoxville. I don’t think that a state school was the right choice, but I was really overwhelmed by the process of choosing a college! I think that it’s such a crap shoot, and for most of us, it’s a lesson in expanding our comfort zones, and perhaps, realizing and adjusting our expectations. I’m glad that you ended up in a program that you loved!

    Hope you’re enjoying your vacation!

  62. ruby red says:

    This is fun! I love learning more about you! My college application process was devastating. My GPA was perfect and I took all GT/AP classes, and my SAT was pretty great…but unfortunately, I was not interested in continuing in academia. I desperately wanted to go to an elite arts conservatory and get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting (theatre for the staaaage!). Unfortunately, the odds were stacked against me. I’m a short, white, brunette female and soooo many other actresses looked like me. All my apps were extremely expensive and required that I fly into Chicago and audition in person for an array of these schools… If I got in, all I would take in school would be acting, voice, movement, speech, Shakespeare, etc.-type of classes.
    I traveled all over Texas for 3 years of high school doing competitive speech and theatre tournaments and transferred high schools in order to a part of one of the best theatre departments in the state of Texas.
    I got rejected from all the theatre programs I applied to: Juilliard, Carnegie Mellon, North Carolina School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, Cal Arts, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Training Program, SMU…everywhere. Of course, this was the theatre snob in me — like you, I only wanted to go to the “Ivy Leagues” of arts schools, the best of the best. I got into the academic programs of SMU and Minnesota, since they decided they would still accept people into the school even if they weren’t doing the intensive theatre program.
    I didn’t know what to do…it looked like my theatre career couldn’t continue. I ended up going to Minnesota for a year and took general theatre classes, but I wasn’t happy with being a frozen block of ice up there (it’s unbearably cold!) or with not being an elite theatre student. I reapplied the next year to a bunch of those schools and got rejected again.
    I thought my life had ended…and my dad stood there and cried with me through the end of the rejection process. But I picked up my life again, applied to my dad’s alma mater (where my younger sis would be heading to the next fall) as a nutrition & dietetics major, and got accepted. Now I’ve graduated from college and will be a Registered Dietitian — if all goes as planned — by next summer. I am so glad I took this path because I ended up in a city I love full of people I love. And I never would have survived as a starving artist, trying to make it as a stage actress in NYC. This gal’s gotta eat! (As you can understand yourself, I’m quite sure, hehehe.)

  63. Leena says:

    Hi Katie! Just found your blog recently and I LOVE your posts! This one in particular really moved me to comment having recently gone through a transfer myself.

    I just finished my freshman year, the first semester at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the second at Iowa State. But I didn’t transfer out of UW because it didn’t feel right… I was recruited to swim there (along with Indiana University, Michigan, and UVa) I chose UW because I completely fell in LOVE with the campus. The city, the lakes, the people. Plus they have a huge farmers market that goes around the entire capitol building every saturday… that really got me :)

    Anyways, I had some major issues with the coach that led to a hospitalization… which led to a search for other options. I ended up agreeing to go to ISU. I’m majoring in Biological/pre-medical illustration – a major unique to ISU and something I’ve been interested in since high school. But I still don’t feel quite right there. It’s nothing like Madison and I miss all the wonderful people I met there. So who knows there may be a major lifestyle change (i.e nix the collegiate swimming), and possibly ANOTHER transfer in the future. It’s a major dilemma I’m facing and dealing with by attempting not to think about it… which isn’t going too well :/

    What made you decide to take the jump?

    1. Leena,
      Just like you, I kept feeling like “something isn’t right.” It was only my freshman year, and I knew other people who were transferring as well, so I figured I’d cut my losses and just do it! I’m really glad I did! :)

  64. Marianne says:

    I cannot even fathom paying that kind of money per course for school. $5000 per course would be enough for a full year of courses at school here! WTF?!

    Originally when I went to school, I knew it was going to be one of the 2 universities in the Vancouver area, and I chose SFU because it was the closest to my house. Knowing I would have many labs (being in sciences and all), I didn’t want to have the commute out to UBC every day. Then I chose to go to another school on the island after I had graduated and lived abroad to study fisheries, then ended up with a job. Once I decided to make the career change to dietetics, UBC was the obvious choice, since it’s the only school in BC that offers the program. Plus I could live back at home for free :) Although, turns out I ended up with that long ass commute after all.

  65. I chose mine based on location, because I went back to college a little late and my employer paid my tuition (as long as I got all A’s). I ended up at a small private liberal arts college a little outside of Hershey, PA called Lebanon Valley College. I LOVED it! I wouldn’t trade the education I got there for anything. It was tough to work full-time and go to college full-time, but I did it, and got my tuition paid! Woohoo!

  66. i chose my school because it was the only one that sent me stuff in the mail and actually seemed interested in me. hahaha :)
    it was the only one i applied to so i’m very glad i got in… otherwise i don’t know what i would be doing!

  67. Rachel says:

    I was also rejected from Penn.. which was really frustrating because I was TOTALLY qualified and they only accepted the legacies who applied from my high school. I’m still bitter about it!

    1. Rachel,
      Can we go visit together and throw tomatoes at them? No, scratch that. They’re not worth the tomatoes!! 😉

  68. Great college story! I’m glad you found a college where you feel like you belong. My college story seems pretty different than most because I actually hated graduating from high school and didn’t want to go to college. Even though I am one of those overachiever, straight-As type people (it seems like a lot of bloggers are), my parents had to pressure me to visit and apply to colleges. Basically I was terrified of leaving home. It was a really hard choice for me, but I ended up going to a college (Truman State) that my friends were going to instead of the one that I preferred. As it turns out, there were was no need to be so worried and I love college now. I sort of regret not looking at other schools, particularly the big, prestigious ones that I had a chance of getting into, but what happened happened and I’m happy with where I am now.

  69. Kittie says:

    I had everything all lined up to go to my dream school, Warren Wilson College. Then the economy crashed. My college fund was in stocks. Now I’m trying to make the besot of one of the shittiest state schools around. I’m the smartest kid in all my classes by a LOT. I hate it. I don’t feel challenged….

  70. Katelyn says:

    For my undergrad I went to the University of Oregon- and I was so annoyed- I was smart! Why did my parents make me go there?!?!?! Well, cause it’s cheap!!! Haha! But, I worked my tail off and got into Teach For America my senior year and I’ve applied for grad school- I got in at Columbia and waitlisted at Harvard- but now that I know I CAN get in, I don’t really care… life is funny that way isn’t it? What I have learned through all of this is that hard work and a good attitude will get you anywhere you want to go :)

  71. Katelyn says:

    Oh and I meant to say I AM SO HAPPY you are going to add more personal stuff- now I’ll definitely stop by more often- which sounds kind of creepy— sorry, about that :) I’m just excited to a blog friend rather than a recipe holder :)

    1. Katelyn,
      It doesn’t sound creepy at all! Actually, you sound like someone I’d love to know in real life. Who sounds creepy now?? :)

  72. Erika says:

    I graduated high school with a 4.0 and great SAT scores and was told I could go pretty much anywhere — and then I only applied to one place, Indiana University.

    I always thought that I would leave and go to college far away from home, but I ended up going to the college 10 minutes away from my house, where my mom works! It made perfect sense because I got so many scholarships that I was going for free. In fact, one year I made money by getting more money scholarships than I had to pay. I ended up graduating after three and a half years with three majors, and I feel like I got a fantastic education. You really get out of it what you put into it.

    I graduated last December at age 20 and now I can start my life, debt-free. And I moved very, very far away from home haha.

  73. I love reading about you!! this is so fun!
    my motto- life works out.
    I was denied early admission to stanford which broke my heart. i got into my second choice-tufts, but decided to go to BU because they offered me a hefty scholarship. A bawled for days about that decision, but leaving college debt free won out over the tufts name. Now-I’m so glad i went to BU. If i had gone to tufts i would probably still be pre-med and not happy about my courses. I was lucky that BU has an AMAZING nutrition department, and I am loving my new major. Plus, because it’s such an urban campus I get out into the city a lot, and that’s been very important to me!
    can’t wait to read part 2.

  74. Claire says:

    I definitely had the same complex about ‘needing’ to get into a prestigious school, but it was not out of snobbery or thinking that I was smarter/better than people at state schools. I went to public schools growing up and while having 2500 students at my high school made a competitive atmosphere, people just did not seem motivated to do anything, whether academic or not. Most of my peers went to Ohio State, where I had already taken honors 1st year organic chemistry over the summer, and talking to them I got the impression that nobody liked to talk about interesting, relevant, or worldly topics, but rather getting ****faced over the weekend or what was new on Lost (and these were supposed to be the smartest out of a huge school). I ended up getting in early decision to MIT and then applying to Stanford and Michigan as an after thought, getting in to each of these schools. I decided on Stanford because it seemed progressive, intelligent, and relaxed; was super far away from home; and my brother lived nearby. I do not regret going to a competitive college whatsoever. I have met tons of amazing people from all over the world, enjoyed rocking out with the marching band, had a private dinner with Condi Rice, genetically altered bacteria to make pharmaceuticals, travelled by boat between Edmonton and Saskatoon, had a class taught by a Nobel Laureate, studied in a bikini, become one of the few undergrads on the board of Trustees, gone home with my best friend to New Delhi, written an iPhone app, and now I’m working in a startup company in San Francisco for a biotech company.

    I don’t judge people based on where they went to school and I hate being judged or seen as pretentious because I do go to a elite school. When it comes down to it, I like to surround myself with people do cool things, tell great stories, are loyal friends, and value learning/science/worldliness and I happened to find those kinds of people at my university.

  75. Anonymous says:

    ahhhhh your outfit in that pic is FANTASTIC! You look amazing in it. GREAT colors on you.

    College– I applied early to a tiny liberal arts school in Maine (Bowdoin) because I had good feelings associated with Maine, it had a high ranking, was small enough to make sure I’d never get overlooked, and offered a major in Neuroscience. I got in, thank goodness, as I had no back-up plan! Then for graduate school I ended up at UT Austin, pretty much the opposite of my little Bowdoin, but I love it too.

    1. Lexi says:

      Oh my gosh, how ironic!
      I’ve been thinking about applying to Bowdoin, but nobody I know has heard of it (much less attended the school for undergrad). Is there any way that I could email you with a few questions?

      1. Yes, definitely!
        And my cousin went to Bowdoin!! Now I think he works in hedge funds and makes a crud-load of moolah! 😉

  76. Sarah says:

    I had a similar thing. I was destined (so I thought) to go to Cornell. After all, one of my favourite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, went there. I had perfect SAT’s, ACT score, etc. And I was valedictorian. Didn’t get in. I got ‘waitlisted’ as well, but declined. I decided instead to go to Ball State because I couldn’t afford my second choice, University of Chicago, even though I got in! Well, I hated Ball State (and Indiana), and transferred ultimately to Michigan State University. In the process of all this, I also switched from a music major to journalism, then finally to environmental science. I felt like a failure going back to my home state…but guess what? It had the most amazing program for what I wanted to do. AND the professors were phenomenal. I ultimately got a job in AUSTRALIA with one of my professors from MSU, met my partner, and just got married to him! I am a rational thinker who eschews any idea of fate, but I can tell you that I do feel fortunate that every step led me to the life I lead now, which I love.

    I poo-poo my former snob self :-) After all, what would she think about a girl who became an environmental scientist? I mean, how UN-glamorous is that?? Smart girls don’t become tree huggers! Well, former snobby Sarah, they do…and they get to live a life full of passion and work that they love….no matter what anyone else thinks. I wouldn’t take back those tumultuous late high school/early college years for anything.

    Whew, that was long-winded! Thank you so much for this new angle on your blog. I am loving it already.

  77. Erika says:

    Sarah –

    Just letting you know that everyone hates Ball State, and I promise all of Indiana is not like Muncie. Bloomington is way better. =)

  78. Bekah says:

    Aw Katie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I think it breaks down a lot of walls in blog-land when you open a little bit about yourself. When its only a one way street, and you don’t really know much about the other person, I find it hard to connect to that blog. (This is untrue about yours of course, but I love that you’re opening up anyway!)

    Oh, and btw Katie, I loove that full-length photo of you at the top! Your legs look so strong and you look beautiful! Hope you’re enjoying your summer lady. :) xo!

    1. Bekah,
      Awww thank you! And same to you!! :)

  79. I love hearing more about you :)

    After high school I worked for 2 years before I could decide what I wanted to study and then it was a sealed deal when I finally figured it out. I also got waitisted which was embarrassing because my language test results were 100% but the others were not :S anyway, I got in and spent the most wonderful 4 years in my college and after a while no one cared how you got in 😉

  80. anonymous says:

    i applied to upenn early decision and was deferred. most students from my small school usually get in, so i was sure i’d get in once regular decision time rolled around. no such luck. i was so bummed and was crying hysterically, until i found out that i at least got into another one of my top choices. even though i’m totally stoked to be headed to that school now (i’ll be a freshman this fall), i’m still pretty embarrassed about being rejected by penn. it sucks, but i know that i’m going to have an awesome experience come this fall. plus, people can get a great education and meet incredible people at ANY school, and keeping that in mind has been really reassuring for me. thanks for this post, katie.

    1. anonymous,
      Thank YOU for your comment. I feel the same way as you… but really, it’s Penn’s loss for not taking us. Who wants to go to a school that rejects the best applicants anyways? 😉
      I hope you enjoy the heck outta your college experience!

  81. purduekate says:

    I chose my college because my then (serious) boyfriend went there. I really hate admitting that sometimes, and while we dated for two years of college I definitely made the choice for him. Having said that, I got an excellent degree from a Big 10 school and as it turns out, it later helped me that it was a prestigious engineering school as i now work in a very technical field…though I didn’t take any engineering classes it works to my advantage.

    Man, I miss college.

  82. s says:

    oddly enough, i got waitlisted at penn too (but didn’t get in).
    i ended up leaving my hometown in OK to go to school in boston. it was a scary change at the time – i had never even flown on a plane or been away from home for more than a week before leaving for college, lol.

    1. Dumb old UPenn! 😉
      Wow, Boston is super-different from OK! But it’s a fun place, especially for college-aged kids… my sister went to college there too.

  83. Laura says:

    Great post! I got into Haverford (a school close to Bryn Mawr) and I knew from the moment I stepped on campus that there were too many girls. I didn’t get into one of my top choices, a small LAC in Massachusetts (waitlisted) but I’m going to my other top choice, another small New England LAC. College admission is just plain stupid. I got into some schools that are “harder” to get into than schools where I was waitlisted. It’s luck of the draw, but I still admit that I’m bitter (like you are about UPenn) about the mass. LAC.

    1. I took a class at Haverford!

      And you’re definitely right about the “luck of the draw” thing! Or, even more importantly than that, it has a ton to do with where you live and what school (*cough cough* private school!) you attend! In my case, six kids got into UPenn from a private school in Dallas… no room for us public school girls :(.

      I hop you LOVE the school you chose… you’ll probably have way more fun than at some school that doesn’t know what they’re missing in turning you down! 😉

  84. Susan L says:

    I go to Penn State (my mom works there so it’s way cheaper for me to go there than pretty much anywhere) but my dream school was Wellesley. I got rejected from them but I was also the first to apply there ever (I believe, as far as my guidance counselors memories went that was true), although two years later a girl I knew with similar scores/statistics got in. It hurt, but I know now that it would not have been the school for me. I had a family tragedy happen my sophomore year and I was so glad to be closer to home during that time. Also I wasted a few semesters getting terrible grades (which is not so awful when tuition is $2500/semester but quite another when it’s $20,000/semester). I know that I ended up where I belonged and have had a great experience at PSU. I love the big school lifestyle and I love that we have smaller branch campuses to take classes at as well. And, as a third generation Penn Stater, I am proud to carry on that legacy in my family as well.

  85. Elizabeth says:

    I didn’t really think about college too terribly much in high school. I got good grades and participated in many extracurricular activities because I wanted to, not because I was trying to impress anyone. So, at the end of my junior year, I was shocked when I started getting applications to colleges in the mail. When I received Yale and Harvard’s, I tossed them in the trash. While it was amazing they contacted me in the first place, I had no chance. I was from Alabama and my parents hadn’t even dreamed of college. I knew that I would get enough scholarship money to go to a local state university for free, and be in their honors college, so I wasn’t too terribly worried.

    Fast forward to the fall of senior year. College application time. I started researching potential colleges and ended up absolutely and irreconcilably falling in love with Yale. My parents couldn’t afford to take me up and do the campus tours across the Ivies that many students do, but I decided to give it a shot and apply early. Early decisions came in: Deferred until regular action. While a bit upset, I knew that they would reevaluate my application. I sent a letter with updates and a statement of intent. The day for final decisions arrived: Waitlisted. I had been waiting eight months for a decision that continued to string me along. However, about a month after students finally chose their schools, I got the call saying that I had been accepted. I just finished my freshman year, and I am just as in love with my school as the day I first stepped on campus.

  86. Katie – just late-night stalking your blog, as I often love to do! Came across this post and really loved it. I never know how much information to divulge about my personal life on my blog, but I looove reading about yours when you do share (like your running post as well!) and I wish more bloggers would do the same. It makes the whole experience so much more personal. So thank you very much for that :) keep on being awesome!


  87. Laura says:

    Hey CCK!

    You remind me SO much of myself, haha. I discovered your blog back when I first started college and loved it! I still do, but I remember making every recipe you posted and relating so much to your love for chocolate, but desire to stay healthy.

    I also used to be an avid runner, but recently due to work and school I haven’t been able to lace up as often as I’d like. I find that I don’t even miss what I used to stress over skipping a single day of! Anyways, keep blogging. You’re an inspiration!