My dream school growing up was always the University of Virginia. There was no other school in sight for me. My dad went there and I grew up going to grounds every weekend for football games and basketball games. Grounds was just a second home to me. I can navigate around the school like a student there, I've been to lighting on the lawn, and have travelled all over the country to watch the Wahoo's win championships. As a senior in high school, I applied to UVa and was rejected. I understand I just didn't quite have the SAT scores for the school. My GPA was a 4.0, my extracurriculars were stellar too. No matter how I slice it though, I was rejected. I had my heartbreaking cry for a few minutes and moved on. I decided later that Spring that I would go to JMU.
When I chose JMU I told myself, put in one year of hard work at JMU and you're going to transfer to UVa. Just one year and you'll be and be exactly where you want to be. You're going to be able to thank JMU for the bridge it gave you to get to the place you belong. Well, for the past year I worked so hard and filled out my application, drafted several essays, and asked professors for recommendation letters. I was super excited to turn in my application and get back on track with my college plans. Well, I failed again. I became double reject from my dream school -- how humiliating. The day I found out, I remember locking the door to my dorm room and punching my desk over and over again. I had a huge bruise on my hand for a few weeks. I sobbed, I was so embarrassed and have never felt more like a failure.
At this point I knew I would be returning to JMU in the fall and wasn't entirely too thrilled about it. I spent about a week being really upset. I was rejected right around finals week so that didn't help the cause either. I never expected that I would be in that position, I never thought that I would fail again at something I had worked so hard for. My home away from home had told me not once but twice that I wasn't wanted.
By the end of April I was the biggest failure I knew so I needed to focus on something positive. I got to thinking about what JMU had given me in the past 8 months. What did my third choice school offer me as a freshman? As a kept brainstorming, I realized just how much I was taking for granted. JMU gave me a beautiful place to live. A college campus nestled in the Shenandoah Valley where the sunsets are the colors of fire and the crisp Fall air smells incredible. It also gave me a great sisterhood -- a group of girls who I call home and best friends for life. ADPi was a huge and positive part of my freshman year and I couldn't be more thankful for my sorority. JMU gave me four seasons of beautiful weather and great academic buildings with top notch technology and classrooms. The school has impeccable food along with an on campus Chick-Fil-A (I mean, come on!). Also, JMU offers me a public relations program where as UVa, does not.
There are so many things that JMU offers me but I chose not to see them all year because I was too busy focused on something else. I was way too concerned with leaving than I was with soaking it all in and enjoying it. Yes, I had some great times at school but after a great day at JMU, I would turn on my computer and begin working on an essay that would help me leave. I was too blinded with the idea of something that I thought was better that the great place I was in went unseen. I was uninvolved, uninspired, and ungrateful to be going to JMU. Things were really put into perspective about school too was when I was scrambling to find a place to live. I ended up subleasing an apartment from a girl who was unable to return to school because her mother had cancer. How selfish & ungrateful of me that I was upset to return to a top southern school. After that, my entire outlook changed.
I'm extremely excited to go back to JMU this fall. If you asked me in April post-rejection if I would be excited, I would have said no but after thinking on it, I'm excited to look at campus with different eyes. I'm going into a brand new major, living with new people, continuing incredible friendships, living off campus, and have so many fun things to look forward to in the fall. Football games, tailgates, recruitment, semi-formal, and so much more.
It's funny how something so heartbreaking at the time can turn your entire perspective around. I have to believe that being told no is something that God had in his plan for me all along. Who knows-- I could meet my husband next year or run into an outstanding internship opportunity. Either way, sometimes is OKAY to fail or to feel like you have failed because when you feel as if you've reached rock bottom, that's a pretty great place to rebuild from.