Making My Decision

By Sara Gervais on September 15, 2013
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Last year when I was searching and yearning for the perfect college, the idyllic Hogwarts-esque institution of my imagination, I guess you could say I had three priorities: running, college-touring, and school (Those last two were interchangeable with reading and hanging out with friends, depending on my mood.).

Every week, I’d run up to my friend Erin, who shares my interest in creative writing, and exclaim, “We’re going to [insert cool, artsy college here]!”

Most weekends my dad would announce that he’d scheduled another college tour, based on the lengthy list I’d given him. Sometimes we’d go way out to the middle of nowhere, zooming by innumerable, indiscernible cornfields before finally arriving at a lovely university like St. Lawrence. Other times we would drive for a mere hour or so before finding ourselves in the middle of a vivacious hub like that of Pioneer Valley where the five college consortium composed of Amherst, Mount Holyoke (Emily Dickinson), Smith (Sylvia Plath), U. Mass. Amherst, and Hampshire, all of which we visited in one crazy day.

Running through my mind

Touring each college, I couldn’t help but wonder what running there would be like. At Fordham, one loop of the Rose Hill campus would be a mile; at Barnard and NYU, I would have the whole of Central Park; at McGill I could jog up and around Mont Royal.

Though seemingly unimportant, running is what keeps me alive; without exercise, I am a mere lethargic lump, a dull watcher of televisions, an disgustingly Dudley Dursley-ish gourmand, distracted, directionless, and soul-slumbering.

Visiting colleges was probably good for me academically, as it reminded me what seemingly pointless, mindless memorizing was for as I drudged through algebra and anatomy. Romanticized daydreams of majoring in English or philosophy allowed me to transcend the mundane moment and garner good grades for my future.

Though I still had plenty of time to hang out with my school friends, I was almost too busy to see my oldest and closest friends, Anna and Marika, the first who I’ve known since kindergarten (We both attended the International School of Boston, Cambridge’s French school, for a decade of our lives.), the second who I figure skated with for six years.

We still saw each other, though not nearly enough. I dearly missed the continuity of those people who have known me for so long, who understand and accept me in all my eccentricity, who remind me of who I am, who listen to my desperately rambling rants when I’m having an existential crisis.

The perfect fit

College-wise though, I decided on New York after visiting Barnard College. It was more of a feeling, a compulsion I couldn’t help but follow, than an actual, strenuously thought-out decision.

I mean, Barnard was perfect in all its high-ceilinged openness, possessing a character, a contained, humbly beautiful integrity, and still seamlessly harmonized with the charmingly cacophonous city where J.D. Salinger’s entire Glass family grew up, where Holden Caulfield prowled the streets, searching for meaning, for faade-less humanity and Truth. (And J.D. Salinger himself took night classes at Columbia, the brilliant university right across the street to which Barnard is affiliated.)

So, in a desperate attempt at Zen-ness, I’m telling myself that whatever will happen will happen, and I’ll have to either embrace it, join the circus, or be a hobo.


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Sara Gervais

Sara Gervais

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