Am I in the Right Place?

By Abby Johnson on June 26, 2013
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Like any other high school student I was constantly fretting over college. Should I go to a school in the Midwest, out East, or even out West? What if I’m not accepted to my dream school? Prior to high school I was so excited about planning for college. I figured that all I needed to do so was send in my transcript and POOF I’d be accepted. Little did I know that the road to college was more tedious and stressful than I had anticipated.

I’m the type of person who constantly changes her mind over everything -- especially when it comes to school and potential careers. In elementary school I dreamed of not going to college so I could pursue my dreams of becoming the next pop sensation or child celebrity.

Upon realizing I was no Britney Spears, I decided in middle school that I was going to medical school and go on to work with handsome surgeons. That dream fell apart shortly after I attempted to read the 1,280-page Gray’s Anatomy. Come high school, I knew I wanted to become a magazine journalist. I visited all of the top journalism schools, only to be told by countless people that the magazine industry is dying.

Ultimatum forces hard choice
Near the end of sophomore year/start of junior year I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life: fashion. However, with a father who has his Master’s in business and a mother who does real estate, I was constantly told “fashion is not a marketable career. You can’t earn a living off of that.” After months of arguing and throwing around different careers and colleges, they finally agreed to let me pursue my dream.

Having no clue what the fashion industry was like, or fashion in general for that matter, I set my sights on the most recognizable fashion school I knew: Parsons, The New School for Design. Part of the agreement with my parents was that I had to apply to other schools, preferably in the Midwest, before I could apply to Parsons. So I applied to the University of Wisconsin- Stout and the University of St. Thomas. But I knew that I was going to end up at Parsons no matter what.

Three acceptance letters later, my parents threw down the gauntlet. It was the University of Wisconsin-Stout or nothing. Fearing the notion of having to pay for college on my own, I conceded. During my senior year it seemed like the end of the world to go to school in the middle of nowhere.

What it’s really all about
However, now that I’m at Stout I feel that I made the right decision. My school may not be in the heart of Manhattan or have the glitz and glamour New York City has to offer, but it is offering me an education. I’ve come to realize over the past year that it’s not about going to the big-name schools that have all of the “fluff” like a dorm room with a fabulous view of the city.

It’s about going to a school that is going to put you in the best position for life after college. For me, that school is Stout. For my friends, it’s the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the University of Minnesota, or even Northwestern University. Whatever our schools may be, we each have a place we can call “home” for the next two, four, or even five years. The important thing is to find a school where you are going to be the most prepared for the future. Whether that is the state school where all your friends go or the small liberal arts college, make it work.


About the Author

Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson

University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota.

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