The expectations for college are farfetched and far off.

By Josie Stewart, ’21.

In a two page Times New Roman font letter from May 19, 2017, I wrote to my senior self about not messing up the rest of my life by giving up in high school. I believed that despite my hatred for math and science, I would end up at MIT or some other ivy league school probably doing engineering.

I am proud to say that these aspirations are now far outdated. As I see my new graduation banner in the yard displaying the Ohio State University’s logo, I am proud of what I have accomplished even if the school I am going to has an acceptance rate over ten percent—something an anxious, eighth grade me would find ridiculous.

I think that these standards came from those around me, though. Despite having two parents who attended OSU followed by two older sisters who did the same, I thought that it was beneath me. My higher GPA and ACT score than my sisters warranted a better school—and I was wrong.

Quite frankly, even if I had been accepted into MIT (or even if I had applied), it would not have been the right decision. For that matter, a better fitting school for an English focused, political science loving double major like me such as Brown, would have made me sacrifice my two intended majors since they don’t have the program. Besides that, entering politics from somewhere in Rhode Island is likely much more difficult than being in the capital of Ohio near the capitol building.

This is not what people used to tell me. Aside from my family, every peer, friend or sometimes even teacher would push the ivy narrative on me and every other student that I somehow always began discussing standardized tests with. Every school is an accomplishment, and for a very long time, I didn’t see it that way.

Whether the decision is made based on money, location, proximity or programs, truly choose what is best for you and not what people push onto you. I can gladly say that with the two different programs I was accepted into at Ohio State and the discount from my parents working there, there’s not another mainstream elite school I would be willing to give up those benefits for.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you have heard this, and I know that my situation is not unique, but I cannot emphasize it enough. The case is different for everyone, but we should celebrate the accomplishments of every student based on what they are doing and how invested they are whether you have heard of their university or not.

I am so proud of everyone in the Class of 2021 and cannot wait to see what my fellow OSU goers accomplish alongside each other. We have made it through so much, be proud of where you have come so far from your own eighth grade self and where you will continue going next year.