My experience visiting college was an amazing time! Although it was a little stressful, thinking about leaving home and all, the idea of picking my new city for the next four years gave me a lot of hope.
I began looking at colleges within my own state – California. These schools were very fun, but I already knew the area. The California schools are ones I have never actually been on the campus of, but the surrounding areas I have spent my life near. Although the schools were pretty, it did not feel like I could live there for four years. I was practically living at home. Nothing felt different.
After doing some research with my college counselor, I decided to look at schools in the Midwest. More than anything, I really liked the Midwest culture, in particular Chicago. I wanted a liberal city – similar to Los Angeles – but also a place that felt nice, safe, and friendly. New York was not one of those places. Although it was liberal and a central city of art and culture, it was not the city for me. I am a home-body, and there are just too many people in the city of New York! Chicago was the perfect in between. It was still a huge place where I could explore my love of the performing arts, but not too big that it was overwhelming.
I took a driving tour through Indiana and Illinois, before flying to Colorado and seeing a few schools there. Both my mothers work full-time, so my Grandma Karen offered to drive me through these states as we looked at seven or eight schools. It was an amazing experience. Unlike my time looking at California schools, these felt like schools I could see myself living at for the next few years. Some fit my needs more than others, like class sizes or living environment or major specifications, but overall the Midwest, and seeing parts of Colorado, felt like a better fit than all the California schools. I wanted to be in a new environment, outside of the state I already knew. I wanted to experience new food, new city life, and I wanted to really see what it was like to have seasons. My first year in Chicago – seeing the leaves turn colors and the first snowfall – was magical and life-changing. There is also a whole new art scene in Chicago that I never knew existed and am proud to be apart of it now.
As I talked about in my vlog, after touring DePaul and the city of Chicago, it quickly became a place in my heart. I have never regretted my decision to come here and I know it was the place I needed to be.
– Morgan Kail-Ackerman