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Senior Year Fears: Leaving My Country for College

Senior year hits you with an array of emotions and responsibilities such as nostalgia, happiness, pride, joy, and most of all: stress. It creeps along from the back of your consciousness just as soon as you start uttering the words “I’m a senior in high school”. It’ll come as you study for your standardized tests, as you stress over which AP and IB courses you’ll take, and then, when you think he tide has dragged you on for far too long, you’ll be pulled by the currents yet again when you have to find an answer for that dreadful question. The very same question every senior shudders at, yes. That all too familiar: “So where will you be studying after high school?”

When you don’t live in the United States, but still face a very large amount of its culture, you might feel inclined to study there. The American Dream is a foreign concept that we all hear about. We are told to work hard because we must all obtain a better life. We are told to strive to get to that country where we will taste true freedom for the very first time, and sometimes, we find ourselves holding on to the very same hope that inspired the song “I want to live in America”.

However, a lot of students (including myself) have really hit a wall of uncertainty recently. Coming from an outside country, regardless of your citizenship, is terrifying. The media outlets do not lessen our worries in any shape or form either. News everywhere show how hard it can be for minorities in the United States, and the hatred spurred on by politicians only seems to be fueling that fire. Will I move and realize too late that I’ve become a statistic? Will I be one of the unlucky ones to end up on the 4 o’ clock news? Will I be hit with a strong culture shock? Am I strong enough to handle it? If I do move, which state should I study in?

It comes in waves as you fill out applications. You carefully weave your essays, trying to be as genuine as possible, wondering at the same time where you’ll be in a year. It’s present when you search through endless lists looking for campus life characteristics trying to see if you would fit into the puzzle.

I’ve been there too. In fact, I’m “there” right now. Will I be the right fit? Will I want to come back home? Will this turn into a big regret? Round and round goes the merry-go-round of doubt and uncertainty, but look… I’ve learned one lesson for sure, and I will hang onto it until the end of this hurricane:

There are questions I do not know the answers to, and there are things that will always seem out of reach.

In the end,  there are no real answers to those questions. Because we do not come from the same place nor will we all face the same situations. Some might travel and find a place to call home instantly. Maybe you’ll find people you click with and shed those fears that once laid heavy on your shoulders. So, what can we really do?

We hope for the best.

So look for support. Ask for opinions if you need to. Contact people who have done what you’re considering. There are always people online and mentors. Don’t give up just because you’re afraid. This might be something you never regret. So why shut the idea down now that it’s knocking on your door?

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