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CCK Goes To College: Part 1

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.

During my senior year of high school, I unfortunately did not go about college hunting in the best way. 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, which ultimately turned into a rejection, didn’t have anything to do with my worth; it simply meant the admission department decided I wasn’t the right fit at the time. To me, though, it felt like I wasn’t good enough. Even now, I still feel a little ashamed admitting my rejection.

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

Bryn Mawr 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 just 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. After my first year away, I transferred to SMU in Dallas.

Update: click for My College Story – Part 2.

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

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Published on June 25, 2010

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  1. 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

  2. Kady @ Livin, Lovin, Learnin says

    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!

  3. 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).

  4. 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

  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) says

    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!

  6. L @ Whole Wheat Or Bust! says

    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…!

  7. Kelsey @ CleanTeenKelsey says

    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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says

    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!

  13. 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.

  14. Jessica @ Lima's Vegan Kitchen says

    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. 🙂

  15. 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 🙂

  16. 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!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      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!).

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. spoonfulofsugarfree says

    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!

  20. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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. 🙂

  24. 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

  25. 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!

  26. 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.)

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