As spring approaches, lots of high school seniors are wrestling with the huge decision of where they're going to college. I've been there, done that! I'm no expert on choosing colleges, but I know the pressure and stress that goes along with it. Today's blog post isn't going to make that decision for you, but I hope to offer some words of encouragement that might take some of the pressure away or help put you at peace about your decision.
Money is such a huge factor when making a decision. For me it was the root of my problems (if you want to hear more about that, click here to read my post about choosing my college)! I actually didn't get to go to my first choice college (Baylor University) because of money. It was super hard to go through that, but I ended up so incredibly happy at my school (University of North Texas)!
This is super cliche, but telling myself, "if it's meant to happen, God will make it happen," really helped put me at ease. You could be attending the most expensive college in the U.S., and if that's where God is choosing to place you, He will make a way. I was confident God would find a way for my family to afford Baylor, but He had other plans for me. It was so hard for me to accept that, but He was right--UNT was where I was supposed to be. Not to mention, COLLEGE IS EXPENSIVE, GUYS! Keep in mind that you are SO lucky to even have the opportunity to go to college--even if you're at community college or trade school!
Now I'm not telling you to pick the cheapest school--because I had cheaper options and still picked UNT. BUT, don't beat yourself up if you can't afford your first choice. It doesn't mean college will be horrible for you. I know it's so hard to accept, and things might not be perfect at first, but just repeat the mantra above to put your mind at ease a bit. And PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
Distance is a common thing college-bound students consider, as well. Some people want to get super far away, and others want to stay close to home. In my case, I wanted to stay pretty close (I didn't want to be further than 3 hours from home).
My main reason for being close to home was because I wasn't too pumped about going to UNT, and I wanted to be able to go home a lot (which I ended up loving UNT and wanted to stay in Denton for the weekend to hang out with friends. Also I always had projects that required me to go to the studio). While I don't go home near as much as I thought I would, being close to home is really nice! My parents frequently drive through Denton, so I get to see them quite a bit, and if I don't have time to stay a full weekend at home I can just stay for one night!
While I do love being close to home, I would be totally okay even if I lived 10 hours away. Once you get to college and find your people, being away from home isn't near as bad!
A wide range of majors is always something to look for in a college. It's very common for college students to change their major, so you want to have options if you end up doing so (I changed my major in October, click here to read more about that). If I'd had it my way senior year of high school, I would've picked a school that only had fashion design and a few other art majors. Boy, oh boy, am I glad I didn't! Thankfully, my mom veered me away from that (even though I didn't like it) and encouraged me to attend a university. And I'm so glad I did! If I had attended an art school with limited majors, changing my major would have been significantly more difficult and stressful. But luckily, I had pretty much endless options and didn't have to worry about transferring schools.
While I do encourage a larger school with more major options, by no means am I discounting schools that specialize in certain majors. If a student is confident in keeping the same major, those schools are great for fine-tuning the skills needed for that career in such detail that a university might not offer. I just encourage larger schools with more options because majority of students will end up changing their majors!
Another great aspect of attending a university/state school is the "college atmosphere." I'm not huge into football by any means, but I love tailgates/parades/homecoming/etc, and you don't get that at most specialized schools. Going to a university also allows you to become a part of Greek life (I'm so glad I didn't miss out on that opportunity), cheer on your sports teams, and live on campus (those dorms are cramped but can be so much fun + convenient). I know some specialized schools offer some of these things, but you're guaranteed them at a university!
There's a million other things to consider for college (size of school, do they have your major, what's their housing like, the town it's in, etc), but the topics I talked about today were very important to me and played a huge role in my decision making!
The best advice I can offer when making a decision is to make a list of what aspects are most important to you, pray about it, talk to your parents, and RELAX. You are in no hurry to make a decision at this point. I waited until last minute, and ended up loving my decision. And like I said earlier, if it's meant to happen, God will make it happen (just like if it's NOT meant to happen, God won't allow it to happen). College is a very important part of your life, and it's a big deal, but you have to trust that it will turn out the way it's supposed to.
If you have any questions regarding this topic, always feel free to reach out to me! You can reach me through the "Contact" tab, or DM me on social media. This is such an exciting time of your life and you should ENJOY it, not stress about it. Best of luck to those of you heading to college, wherever you may be going :)
If you know me at all, this title probably shocked you! I myself can't believe it! Going into college, people always told me how common it is for students to change their majors. While I believed them I didn't truly understand HOW common it is, let alone I had no idea I would be one of those people!
Buckle down for this blog post, because it's a long story. I have LOTS to talk about, so I'm just going to get straight into it.
I began visiting colleges my junior year of high school. I visited a total of 8 schools, which is quite a lot (blog post over that coming soon). The two schools I loved the most were the University of North Texas and Baylor University. I got accepted into UNT sometime in October and then got accepted to Baylor in November. Before getting accepted into Baylor, I was caught between the two. To be quite honest, I didn't think I would get accepted into Baylor, because at the time, only 44% of applicants actually got accepted. But of course, after I got accepted into Baylor, I was gung-ho for it. That email that said "You're In!" got me all kinds of excited. From that point on, UNT was left on the back burner and I had my sights set on Baylor. When I mean I had my sights set, I mean I didn't see myself going anywhere else. By February of 2017, a whole 4 months before high school graduation, I already had a roommate and a dorm picked out. I had tons of Baylor t-shirts, I was taking days off of school to visit Baylor multiple times, I was sitting in on Baylor classes, meeting fashion design students (fashion design is my major), meeting and contacting professors, and had pretty much told everyone in my hometown that's where I was going. And then reality hit.
Baylor costs $60,000 for ONE YEAR. ONE. YEAR. Not to mention, financial aid wasn't granting me one dime. I had $4,000 in scholarships per year, but that still leaves $56,000 to come up with EVERY YEAR. My parents had been saving up for college for years and my dad has a great job, but we just couldn't swing the grand total of $224,000 for me to go to college. I have two other brothers that also need an education. There was no way we could do it. The only way for it to work was if I were to take out loans, but my parents didn't want to sign me up for a life of debt. From that point on my parents worked TIRELESSLY to find a way to make it work. They emailed, called, and even drove to
Waco to try to get me financial aid or some kind of scholarship. It just wasn't happening.
When I got accepted into Baylor, we had to pay a $500 fee to "secure my spot in the freshman class" (that fee is so ridiculous now that I think about it). We paid it pretty much as soon as I got accepted. However, if I ever decided not to go to Baylor, I could only get that whopping $500 back if I asked for it before May 1st. So basically, I had a deadline.
April 30th rolled around and was NOT a fun day. It was official, I wasn't going to Baylor University. I was so heartbroken and had no idea how to handle it. I can't tell you how many times/how hard I cried. At that point I had to pick what I was going to do. I toyed with the idea of going to a Waco community college and transferring to Baylor, but decided that wasn't a smart route to take. I had been accepted into 3 other schools (UNT, Wade College, and Oklahoma State University), so that's where my decision was limited to. Wade is a fashion school in Dallas (a great one at that) but my parents thought I'd better enjoy a university, so Wade was marked off. It came down to Oklahoma State (where my older brother goes) and UNT (which is actually where my mom went). OSU had a great fashion program and I knew my brother loved it, but I just didn't see myself going there. So I was left with UNT.
I was quite honestly not looking forward to UNT. Although it was a school I had been really interested in months ago, after Baylor being a no, I wasn't excited for anything that wasn't Baylor. After graduation, I knew I had to accept it. I began to get excited for college in general, but I wasn't looking forward to UNT. I didn't tell many people I was going (even after coming home from my first year of college some people still thought I had gone to Baylor) because talking about it made me upset all over again. My friends and family and teachers knew, but that was about it!
Fastforward two months and it was time for orientation. I was sooo not looking forward to it because it was the first time I'd be at UNT as a student, and I didn't know anyone. Orientation was not a great experience for me. Part of it was because I didn't have a good attitude at ALL--but part of it was because I wasn't comfortable in this new place with new people. I felt like I didn't fit in, and I didn't make any real connections with people I met. However, being in the dorms and walking around campus was exciting (even though I never would have admitted that). I got that feeling of independence that I had longed for and it felt so good!
The following month and a half was rough for me. I knew SO many people going to Baylor and it was so incredibly difficult for me to listen to them talk about it knowing I wasn't getting to be a part of that. I was genuinely so excited for them, but I was jealous. At this point in time I really knew I wasn't going to Baylor, but I was jealous that they got to be excited for school while I was dreading going to a school that I felt like I didn't fit into.
August 19th, 2017 was a weird day for me. I got up early so that I'd have all day to get moved into my dorm in Denton. I was actually kind of excited! Packing my stuff up the night before and morning of really made things real. I was about to be on my own! However, while driving up to Denton I kind of broke down. As exciting as college was I still was upset I wasn't where I wanted to be. I hate that this happened on what should have been a super exciting day! But I do believe everything happened the way it did for a reason. By 9 pm, my family had left and I was (for the most part) moved in. My roommate was moving in the next morning, so I was all alone in my brand new living situation. For weeks I had been dreading that night, because the thought of being alone and unhappy made me think I was going to have an emotional breakdown. But much to my surprise, I was very relaxed and calm. I didn't want to cry. I didn't feel upset. I think this was a pivotal night for me, because I was slowly starting to realize this is where I'm supposed to be.
It took all of 3 days for me to completely do a 360 and love UNT. 3 days people!!! My roommate and I immediately clicked and I met so many amazing people right off the bat. I was still upset I wasn't at Baylor but I was also so happy I was at UNT. It was the BEST feeling in the world and the most important life lesson I've learned thus far.
My hopes of going to Baylor are far behind me. I by no means hold resentment against the school for not giving me financial aid, and I don't even have an ounce of dislike for the school, but I'm also very glad I didn't go to Baylor. Being at UNT with no familiar faces gave me the fresh start I needed so desperately. I made brand new friends, met the most amazing guy who became my boyfriend, fell in love with the city of Denton, and people knew me for ME, not for my past. So many people I was close with went to Baylor (like, more than 10 people), and while it would have been nice to be around them, I don't think I would have branched out and met so many new people. Not to mention, I am debt-free at UNT--I don't have to take out loans! I get to go through school and not have to worry about paying it off in the future. And that is SUCH an AMAZING feeling!
Like I said before, this has been my biggest life lesson! Sometimes I wish I could grab high school Kaci by the shoulders, shake her, and say "you're going to LOVE UNT!" BUT--at the end of the day, I'm really glad I wasn't happy. I'm glad I wasn't excited. I know that sounds utterly crazy, but I think that's what makes me so incredibly happy now. I do wish I had been more thankful. College is college no matter where you go, and IT'S EXPENSIVE. I wish I had just shown some more excitement, because I probably didn't do a good job of showing my parents that I was thankful for the opportunity and their generosity. I was always thankful for that, but too caught up in my own sorrows to show it. This sad season of my life sure wasn't fun, but proved to me that God knows what I need, and has my best interest at heart. Even though I couldn't see it, He could, and all along He knew I was going to be happy at UNT. Now that I've been through this, I'll have a better attitude next time I don't get my way.
I encourage you to do the same. IT IS SO DIFFICULT, my friends. But I now know that even though I might not like God's plan at the moment, IT WILL BE OKAY. If it's meant to be, IT WILL BE.
I could write a long, emotional closing statement, but I'll just leave you with this: GO MEAN GREEN!
If you know me, you know I'm BEYOND obsessed with candles. From guava to eucalyptus to basil, I love a good-smelling candle. We sell candles at where I work, so as you can imagine, I spend a pretty dime or two on candles. Today, I'm sharing every candle I own (at the moment--although there's more to come). I've been buying candles for a few months but haven't been burning them! I wanted to stock up so that during the school year I can keep my apartment smelling yummy without spending any money on candles.
Outfit Details: Pink Maxi Dress (similar here)
When reading these, I hope you don't just think of those who fit the picture. Mental illness doesn't discriminate.
I chose to start this post with this quote because everyone needs to know this going into this post. I encourage you to keep these words in mind when reading this post. While these responses are from real people and people you might even know, remember that the point of reading this post is to learn more about the experiences people face living with mental illnesses, NOT to try to figure out who wrote what. I myself have not the slightest clue who wrote these. The people behind these quotes could be anybody, but that is not my business nor anyone else's unless they choose to share that with you.
This is usually where my favorite posts reside. Whether it be fitness, health, home, food, or just day-to-day life, it can be found here.