Learning to Manage Expectations

expectations

It’s often said that you should never meet your heroes. You admire them your whole life, and assume their presence will live up to your expectations. There have been countless stories of disappointed fans let down after meeting their former idols. You may catch them on a bad day, and the squeaky clean image you once had of them will be tainted forever.

The same thing can be said about having a dream college. Many expect college to be the best four years of their lives. But no experience could live up to such high expectations set by that mentality.  

It may not even be your dream school by choice. Maybe your whole family went and it’s more about the tradition. Or maybe it’s only your dream school because it’s highly regarded name will land you a job even before you graduate.

In high school, I always imagined myself at a city school. The saying “the city is your campus” stuck with me and started to manifest on my college list. I could see myself walking the streets of Greenwich Village, making a detour at a quaint coffee shop on the way to class. Living on an isolated college campus in the middle of nowhere was never an option for me.

I didn’t end up going to my dream college. I chose Boston College over other schools not only because of its reputation, but because it wasn’t exactly where I pictured myself going. Even though it sounds strange, I thought I was better off attending college somewhere where I didn’t have preconceived notions of.

I bring this up because it’s that time of the year when high school seniors are beginning to finalize their college lists. Like most high school seniors, I had a dream college. The centrally located campus was mesmerizing and was everything I looked for in a university. I bought t-shirts and hoodies from the bookstore, and wore them with pride wherever I went.

When it came to picking where I wanted to go, however, I ended up making a compromise. I chose against a city school, and instead chose the suburban BC campus as my new home. The city would be there when I needed it, but I would also have a campus life.

I went into college without any expectations. Of course I hoped to have a good time and make lasting friendships, but there was more to college than that for me. I grew fond of the vibrant campus life and felt comfortable learning in a liberal arts environment. I didn’t want to get lost in a sea of students, but I also didn’t want to stand out too much either. Choosing a middle sized college with small class sizes was going to be crucial for my learning.

I loved getting to know Boston, frequenting the city more than the average BC student to window shop and experience Boston’s thriving dining scene. Whenever I felt like I needed to get away, I visited friends who studied at other colleges around Boston. Interestingly, I always missed BC when I saw other campuses—especially the city ones. I would breathe a huge sigh of relief every time, knowing I chose the right school.

My advice to anyone picking a college would be to have an open mind. The school of your dreams may not be the best fit for you. Don’t be disillusioned by the thought of going to a school because of its name or because you heard the parties are fun.

Featured Image by Tatiana Petrovick / Heights Archive