Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The books and classes of returning to school,
Or to take arms against a sea of papers,
And by deferring, delay it. To leave, to travel,
No more, and by a leave to say we pause
The homework and the thousand campus meals
That school is heir to; ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To leave, to travel-
To travel, perchance to experience- ay, there’s the rub,
For in that solo travel what experience may come,
When we have shuffled off our safety nets,
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes calamity of high education:
For who would bear four more years of schooling,
Th’ high tuitions, the foreign professors,
The threat of Hum 110, the final exams,
The ache of too much ramen, and the spurns
That undergrads receive in the job market.
When she herself might an adventure take
With a mere letter; who would want to bear,
To grunt and sweat for a minimum wage,
But that the dread of straying the college path,
A journey far less taken, on which many
travelers lack return, puzzles the mind,
And makes us rather take the common path,
Than to walk on others we know not of?
Then conformity does make cowards of us all,
And thus the human curiosity
Is covered with the pale fear of change,
And journeys of great joy and wonder
With this regard their plans fade away,
And lose the name of action.
Reed College was my absolute dream school. The end of March came around; I didn’t get in. They put me on the waitlist; I still didn’t get in. Then, one fateful afternoon in the end of June, the Dean of Admissions called my cell phone and said they had one open spot that they wanted me to fill!
Sorry, could you say that one more time?
It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life, but it was bittersweet. What about my gap year? What about my blog? What about my Working Holiday Visa that expires in ten months? What about those elephants in Thailand that need my help? I was going to have so many adventures. Once in a lifetime and all that.
But Reed was my first love and I simply can’t say no. Besides, only under the condition that I had decided to take the gap year would I have been able to attend Reed and not take it. It’s counterintiutuve, but it’s true. I could have decided to go straight to the University of Minnesota. I would have paid my deposit, gone to orientation, enrolled in classes… I would not have been able to back out.
Funny how the world works, isn’t it?
Credit to William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1). Thanks for the inspiration, buddy!