Before I began my college search I knew exactly what I wanted: a big school, preferably in the city, that was a few hours away and had a football team (because cities are so well known for their one-hundred yard grassy fields). I also claimed vehemently that I did not want to attend the college that many of my relatives attended – Rider University. Once I began my college search, I quickly learned that everything I thought I wanted in a college and everything that simply felt right about a college were two completely different things.
I visited a variety of colleges in my search for the perfect fit. I visited some in the city and some in the suburbs. I visited some colleges with campuses that spanned an entire town and other colleges that were so small that everyone knew one another. The more I visited, the more I eliminated from my wish list. The big schools in the city felt like too big of a step – like I’d be thrown out into the world and left to figure things out without any guidance from the school. The colleges that were a few hours away felt too far away. Four hours away did not seem very far until I considered that eight hour round trips would only be worth the drive every once in a while. And, while I’m a huge football fan, the colleges that I visited focused almost too much on athletics and not enough on academics, whereas I, a rather non-athletic person, hoped for a college that had a good mixture of athletics, the arts and academics, instead of being consumed by any one category.
After a period of resistance, I finally decided that Rider University was, perhaps, worth looking at. After all, my relatives who attended are all highly successful now. And when I thought about it, the school was known for having a sports element without being too consumed by it. Rider had great academic programs and had a campus that was small enough where it was easy to find my way around, yet not so small that I would run out of new people to meet very quickly. Rider was close enough to home that I could commute, giving me the balance of family life and college life. Rider University sounded like the perfect fit for me. When I visited the campus, everything felt the way it was supposed to feel. I envisioned myself walking around campus. I could see myself hanging out in Starbucks and meeting new people. I could envision sitting in the classrooms and making strides towards becoming what I’ve wanted to be since elementary school, a journalist.
When it came time to apply for colleges, I knew what I wanted. If any of you are into astrology, you may know that Pisces (like me) are known for being indecisive, but on this matter, I was sure. I applied to Rider University and one other school, a “reach school”. I didn’t get into my reach school, which of course made me sad. After getting over the initial sadness, though, I was actually thrilled with how things played out. I honestly feel like I am meant to be a student at Rider University. I love my classes, my professors and the friends I’ve made. It was a long journey, but I can say without hesitation that I have found where I belong.
- Casey Gale