Monica Shah is a freshman at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
She is an International Business major, concentrating in Marketing and
minoring in International Affairs and Psychology. In her free time,
you can find her giving her time to NU Stage Musical Theatre Company,
a student-run musical theatre group on campus. Monica grew up in
Memphis, TN, and attended St. Benedict at Auburndale High School where
she graduated first in her class, and currently resides in Atlanta,
GA. She hopes to eventually work in marketing in the arts and
This week marks the one-year anniversary of two important events in my life: my acceptance into my top-choice university and my acceptance into the university I currently attend. And no, those are not the same thing.
In the spring of 2013, I toured Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and fell in love. From the first step onto its gorgeous, Hogwarts-resembling campus, I knew I needed to attend that school.
A few months later, I toured Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I had never heard of the school before touring, but I enjoyed the campus and the opportunities it offered. I left knowing I loved the Boston area, but didn’t feel that instant love I had felt before. And when application season approached, I applied to both schools.
As my TimeHop application took my back to mid-December 2013, I relived my excitement of getting into both top-tier colleges. But getting into Georgetown was one of my proudest accomplishments of the year, and I was sure that was what would make me happy. I posted about it on all social media platforms, with tweets and statuses in all caps proclaiming how happy I was. I didn’t find the same posts about Northeastern, which I got into a day later, despite my excitement. I was still too excited about Georgetown. It was the school I had talked up to all my friends, the school I had worked hardest on getting into. It was my dream school.
Fast forward to the end of April, where I had to make the decision of what school to attend. I had been putting off the idea that money is one of the biggest factors in my school of choice. Georgetown offered little financial aid, whereas Northeastern offered a generous amount of money. Crushed but accepting that I could not afford to pay full-price for a college, I had to decline Georgetown’s offer of admittance. However, I knew Northeastern was a very good school that was constantly improving upon itself. It offered great opportunities for advancement and was located in one of my favorite cities I visited during my college search. I accepted their offer and knew college would be what I made of it, despite it not being my top choice school.
I just completed my first semester at Northeastern University. As all college freshmen are, I was nervous about starting school and thought about all my alternate universes; it has crossed my mind multiples about what my life would be if I had been able to attend Georgetown. But at the end of the day, I remember I have had the most amazing first semester I could ask for, and I could not get that anywhere else than Northeastern. Not to say Georgetown isn’t a great school or that I wouldn’t have been happy there, but I cannot imagine my life without the friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had at my current school. This is because college life is what you make of it. And if you keep on dwelling on the fact your life isn’t how you imagined it, then your life will reflect your attitude. I know people who couldn’t attend their choice school and they are miserable because they keep remembering their life as they imagined it in high school. But life doesn’t come with a blueprint.
So as application season comes to an end for you seniors and as the spring semester starts for you college students, remember that having a plan isn’t always the answer, and this is coming from a type A person. Do not dwell on what could have been, whether this means the college you attend, the major you have, or the grades you got. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this semester, it is that everything happens for a reason and once it happens, it happens. Just look forward and focus on what will be.