The University of Uncertainty

Taken by Annie Zidek

Taken by Annie Zidek

By Joseph Longo

I picked the wrong college and it is only the first week of classes.

But here is the thing: I knew this all along, and I have accepted it. Back in January when most of my friends eagerly anticipated receiving their acceptance letters, I no longer admired my pick of  colleges and universities.

While thoroughly enjoying my time as a teenager filled with endless friends and memories, when it came time to pick schools I knew wanted change. Instead of a school dominated by suburban, Christian students, diversity was my goal. Out came small schools of only a few thousand and in came grandiose universities. No more days going to the same eight classes with the same rotating thirty faces, but instead big lecture halls full of unrecognizable persons. I had it all figured out.

Yet the funny thing about change is it can squeeze into the most solidified and secure of plans. From September to December of 2014 was self-proclaimed “coming of age” period where I realized exactly who “Joe Longo” wanted to be. I altered my clothing choices, frequented Chicago’s various neighborhoods, and embraced my truer self. But I could not alter my choice in universities. Much to my dismay, that decision was permanent.

While my peers made Instagram posts excitingly announcing their college of choice and proudly wore their universities on College Tee Shirt Day, I sheepishly announced on social media and wore a muted long sleeve. Wallowing in my negativity, I refused to embrace my choice in disbelief the path I was to embark on in just a few months.

Yet as senior year and my time in my hometown community came to an end, the dread of heading off to college failed to cease. Much to my parents dismay, little excitement preceded this new venture. We endlessly reviewed my options. I could stay home and attend the local community college for a year, but there would be no change in environment. Or I could go off to the prestigious university which had accepted me and make the best of the situation--the most logical answer. But I didn’t like that idea either. Stubbornness and perfection have always encompassed me.

It was not until my dorm room was decorated and inhabited with my personal belongings, that I accepted this campus would be my new home. It was not until spending much of the first week walking alone trying to find not only my classes but also a sense of self in this community, did I realize who I was. I had spent the majority of my summer refusing to acknowledge the many blessings this new chapter in my life would consist of. In my negative mindset, I forgot how fortunate I was to go away to college, to attend such a renown university, and to pursue a degree in a field I loved.

While still unsure I will find enjoyment and success at my current university, I can not know without embracing my new surrounding. After all, my choices will affect my journey. Going in negatively will surely have an unfavorable outcome. That’s the beauty of accepting uncertainty: I will not know what will come until I go alone.

Taken by Annie Zidek

Taken by Annie Zidek