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!
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