Ever since the 10th grade, maybe even before that, I have fostered this dream to go to Oxford University. I don't know what started it, really. I think I read some book where people went there. Maybe it was by Connie Willis. At any rate, I did some research and decided that, wow, it was a really cool university, especially for someone as obsessed with British history as I am, and I should maybe apply there.
Long story short, they rejected me for my undergraduate studies. In retrospect, I think this was good for me; I'm American, and I think that the British system, which is a lot more rigid and doesn't allow you to really "change majors", would have not worked out very well for me.
At any rate, I'm graduating from American University this semester, and at the end of last semester, I started applying to graduate schools. I realized that I wanted to be an archaeologist at the end of my freshman year, and so when I chose graduate schools to apply to, I decided to apply to some British schools, so I would be near the field that I want to study.
I also decided to apply to the University of Colorado at Boulder, because I was born and raised in Colorado, and I tend to feel homesick the second I leave it. As in, the second the plane lifts off the runway, no matter where I'm going, there's that little twinge -- I look back at the Rockies and I feel it -- so I didn't know if, after having been away nine months a year for four years at college, I would really be able to handle being away for that long again.
One of the British schools that I applied to was, of course, Oxford. I didn't expect to get in when I applied, but I figured, what the hell, might as well try this. I'd finally visited the city of Oxford for the first time a year ago, when I studied abroad in London, and I fell completely in love with it. I think it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. When I applied, I told myself, "if you get into Oxford, then you have to go there, hands down."
When I sent out the applications, I asked them to just send letters to my home address, rather than my school address, to make things easier and prevent address changes at the end of this school year. Tonight, after I made dinner, I went upstairs and saw that I had a phone message from my parents. The only thing that it could be, I knew, was either an emergency or a letter from a school. I called them back.
Turns out, I got accepted to Oxford.
I kind of had to sit down, because I started feeling lightheaded. Then I ran around calling everyone I know. For the past few months I have been plagued by this complete sense of "what am I doing, where am I going?" I couldn't envision where I would be in a year, or even six months, from now. As all of my friends began to figure out their plans for next year, it really began to wear at me, to have this complete uncertainty about my future. I like to have a plan, I like to know what's coming next and be able to prepare myself accordingly. I like to know that things are worked out for me.
Now, I mostly know what, at least, the next two years will be like. I don't know what college will accept me yet, but I'm guaranteed a place at one of them. Hopefully I get one of the two that I chose (Hertford College or Keble College), but I honestly would be happy with anything, so long as they offer scholarships and provide me with some housing. I'm going to have to take out some serious loans to pay for this, because Oxford is definitely the most expensive of all the schools I applied to, but I have been lucky thus far in my college career to always have scholarships paying for everything, so I don't have any debt right now.
This doesn't quite feel real to me right now. I don't know if it will until I get accepted to a college, or until I choose housing, or buy my plane tickets, or until I'm there.