Choosing a college has this senior freaking out

I?ve been sitting here for 45 minutes just staring at a blank Word document.

?Come on, Bailey,? I keep telling myself. ?English is your first language, try to write it coherently.?

The problem isn?t that I can?t come up with anything to write about. There are about a million different thoughts colliding in my mind right now. I just can?t seem to put them on paper. It?s almost like I?m thinking so hard, I can?t think at all, if that makes any sense.

One might ask, ?Why is calm, cool and collected Bailey so flustered right now??

First, anyone who knows me at all is laughing because I am definitely not calm, cool or collected. For proof, just be in the car with me when I have to park in a busy parking lot. My friends seem to find it very amusing.

But really, what?s got me so rattled that it takes me 10 minutes to collect my thoughts enough to write one sentence?

One word: college. The crucial college decision is staring me down the throat and I?m beginning to freak out. I?d always seen college as something far off in the future. I?d thought about places I might want to go, but I didn?t actually think about deciding on one. But now I have to decide. I have to choose where I am going to spend the next four years of my life.

Until around my sophomore year of high school, I knew only one option for my future education: K-State. It seemed like it was my destiny to go there. My dad graduated from K-State, I had at least four cousins that attended the college, two that played volleyball, and the school had a great architecture program, which was what I wanted to study. Easy decision, right?

But then I was introduced to the world of journalism. Although I still found architecture very interesting and I still loved math, I realized I was meant to be a journalist.

So, I began researching good journalism schools. Among the top colleges were Columbia University, the University of Missouri, Northwestern University, Indiana University and, much to my dismay, the University of Kansas.

This summer, my family and I visited Indiana University because, of all the top colleges, IU interested me the most. On the way home, we spent the night at a hotel in St. Louis.

At breakfast that morning, I happened to meet a journalist visiting from London. She was very helpful and showed me several different websites for student reporting.

When I told her my dream job is to work for the ?Today Show? and that I had just visited Indiana University, this is the advice she gave me: ?Just because you go to a ?top journalism college? doesn?t mean you are going to make it on the ?Today Show.? In the same way, if you don?t go to one of the ?top colleges,? that doesn?t mean you won?t make it on the ?Today Show.? It?s going to depend on what you do to make it happen.?

Keeping her advice in mind, I?ve been able to narrow my list to three top choices: Kansas State University, because no matter where I do choose to go I will always bleed purple; Indiana University, because I like the state of Indiana and it?s a good journalism program and John Brown University, because I really like the school and campus and it has a lot of travel opportunities.

Now it?s just a matter of deciding which one. My top choice changes practically every day. One day I?m 99 percent sure I?m going to K-State because I couldn?t imagine cheering for any other team than the Wild?cats. The next day I?m positive I will be attending IU because I just want to get out of Kansas. Then I?m sure that I?ll go to John Brown because I want to go to a Christian school. It?s like a non-stop cycle of thoughts swirling through my brain.

Amazingly, I have been able to calm my thoughts long enough to write this (hopefully) somewhat understandable article. Somehow, I will decide the best college for me, and I can?t wait until I can write my final decision in a column. But until then, I?ll keep making trusty pro-con lists and will try to enjoy my senior year as best as I can.

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