“College is where you will spend the best years of your life.” Growing up, I heard these words all of the time from adults. Throughout high school, I grew anxious to move away and be able to live out these next wonderful years of my life. However, there was one issue. I had no clue where I wanted to go to college! As a result of my uncertainty, I applied to 13 different institutions ranging large and small, rural and urban. Needless to say, the task of finding the perfect school for me was quite daunting. After all, it was one of the biggest decisions I would make in life.
When I began visiting campuses, I tried to imagine what it would be like to learn, live, and grow at each of the schools. On each visit, I learned about the academics and extracurricular opportunities that each offered to students. However, the most important factor for me was the comfort that I felt on a campus. I realized that I was truly looking for a safe environment with a strong sense of community. I grew up in a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, which made Juniata feel familiar and safe to me, while also being a new and exciting environment, full of opportunity for the future!
As a current junior at Juniata, I can confidently say my experience has been everything I dreamed of and more. I have been able to participate in athletics, hold various jobs, learn to play an instrument, conduct biology research, and travel to different parts of the world. I have met absolutely incredible people through this journey who have challenged my ways of thinking and fostered an environment fit for learning and personal growth. These years have truly been the best of my life, and I look forward to adventures of the future.
The college decision process can be scary. The best advice I can give is to trust your instincts. Going somewhere you feel comfortable makes the experience all the better. You also have more time to choose a college than you think. I felt tremendous pressure to choose, but I did not make my final decision until late spring of my senior year of high school. So, take the time necessary in order to make a decision that you feel confident in. Once you do decide, don’t forget to put yourself out there! Talk to your peers and the faculty. Networking and making connections early on helps to ease the transition to college. Lastly, enjoy every moment because college doesn’t last forever. These past few years have been the best and they have absolutely flown by! Take chances, go to class, study, and live life to the fullest!
-Maggie Peck ’21, Biology POE, Pre-Dentistry