Column: Dream on

When I was in fourth grade, I had big dreams: I planned on going to MIT and studying computer engineering. My parents were not exactly supportive—they told me of the impossible competition to get into Ivy League schools and how stupidly expensive they were.

From that point on, my big dreams grew smaller. Maybe I was not cut out for computer engineering—not that I knew much about it—I just felt dumber. Maybe I could go out of state, but at a smaller, less competitive school. Maybe I should be more realistic in my hopes. But for the most part, I kept the naive hope that I would not go to Purdue Northwest: I wanted to explore and learn to be independent.

Yet, as senior year creeped closer, my parents’ insistence grew stronger. Without serious scholarships, PNW would be the only logical choice financially. I threw myself into scholarships, and each rejection was another reason to give up. I lost hope and just caved into going to PNW.

I felt such intense, biting jealousy for people who could blatantly complain about not getting into colleges that they were able to apply early decision: schools that could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars per semester. It felt so demeaning, and anxiety would build in my chest as I anticipated the question of what college I would go to, and the belittling response that awaited me.

Even features like the college map are tailored for the students at Munster who want to brag about what money they can blow on an expensive name, creating more scrutiny for those who can’t venture as far.