This article is important. Please read it.
My senior year of high school I was bombarded with emails and Mail promoting colleges and Universities that I could possibly be spending the next four years of my life attending. The entire process of selecting a college was excruciating. The process is not always like this. However, I’m the kind of person that wakes up one morning and thinks I’m going to go to The University of Florida! Then the next morning I wake up and think actually I think I’ll go to Augastana in town.
I didn’t have a serious college in mind until about February. I was down to 2. Saint Benedict College and the University of South Dakota. Saint Benns was everything a girl like me could have wanted in a college. It was small like my high school, it had a beautiful campus, it was near a lake, and best of all…it was a private catholic school.
This may make me sound stuck up and I’m sorry…but this is the person I thought I was. I thought in order to be successful you must go to a top tier school. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents by taking the easy route and go to a school 45 minutes away from home.
It came to May 1st and it was college decision time. And I hesitated. Saint Benns was $50,000 per year. I’m an average student. I don’t do sports and I was probably not great enough to get a scholarship doing anything else. I knew in my heart I didn’t have the money to pay for school. So I chose the University of South Dakota.
The beginning of my freshman year wasn’t great. College wasn’t really what I was expecting. It was nothing like my high school experience (which I was an idiot for thinking it would be. I went to Catholic school all my life.)
One weekend about halfway through the semester I decided to visit my best friend from high school. She went to the University of Nebraska Lincoln. We went to the football game, went out that night, and had an absolute blast. She was doing great! So naturally when I got back to my dorm room that Sunday ….I cried.Why was her college experience so much better than mine? Why was she having fun and I wasnt?
“I went to class, survived and that was about it.”
Then it hit me. I didn’t give my school a chance. I had labeled USD as my second option. I went home on the weekends. I wasn’t involved. I had joined a sorority but you get out what you put in and I was putting in the bare minimum. I went to class and survived that was about it.
I wiped my tears. Got up from my futon and decided that I needed to become more than just a student. I needed to get involved. So instead of eating lunch in my room everyday I ate in the commons area and tried to meet a new person everyday. I was starting college over and it felt great! I got involved, I became social chair for my sorority, joined Strollers, became VP of public relations in a business fraternity.
I instantly started to enjoy my experience at the University. Two years later and I’m involved in many different things; Campus Activities Board, Sorority & Fraternity Life Ambassadors, Southern Tide Ambassadors, Pi Beta Phi, And much more! I have a wonderful group of friends whom I love and trust and never fail to have an amazing time with! And I even got a boyfriend.. eep!
Over the last three years I’ve realized how lucky I am that I chose USD. This is a college where you feel like professors care about you. Students are friendly and remember your name. People walk past you on the way to class and smile even if they don’t know you. Dakota Days will become your new favorite holiday and Stroller Sunday will be a close second. Vermillion will become your home even if it’s not the town you want to live in for the rest of your life. I’ve made friendships and memories to last a lifetime at this school and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I wish I could go back and completely redo my first semester of college. I wasted 4 months at what I think is an outstanding school. I finally understand what It took me so long to realize; college is what you make of it. While some are spending thousands of dollars to tell others that they attended schools like Notre Dame and Duke (don’t get me wrong those schools are great) I will be proud to tell anyone who asks that I went to the University of South Dakota. I love my school and if you’re reading this and think state school is boring, for people who can’t get into bigger schools, for people who aren’t smart, or for druggies and hicks (shout out SDSU you’re not all hicks)… Then you’re wrong.
State School is great. I’m speaking to anyone from any state. Don’t think you’re too good for state school. I used to… And I’m embarrassed that I could ever think anyone was too good for USD. Because with that mindset, USD was too good for me. I’m proud to be a coyote and can’t wait for my last year and a half!
Thanks for reading!
Love & Hugs,
PS here are some photos of my adventures at USD