What’s up guys, how are you doing? If you can’t tell by my impeccable grammar, spelling, and word usage, this would be Carissa and not Maria. Yet. You’ll hear from her below.
We’re going to take turns explaining to you why we chose Butler University and what kinds of factors really influenced our decisions. These are probably going to be some of, if not all, the things you should be considering when choosing colleges to apply to and ones where you might want to spend the next four years of your life.
There were a lot of things that made me want to choose Butler, but at first, when everyone else in my class (which is admittedly very small but still) had already narrowed down which colleges they were going to apply to and were already beginning, I was totally lost. I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go. None. Like, not even a little. I knew I wanted to go far away from my little Wisconsin town (for reasons I’ll explain in depth later), but I didn’t know where and I didn’t know if I’d be able to afford an out-of-state college. My parents surely couldn’t. It’d be up to me after I graduated.
So first, I made the mistake in middle school of putting my home address on the bottom of the surveys they used to give us for reasons I don’t remember, and I ended up receiving loads of mail from different universities all across the country. I mean, I had piles of it. One day my dad told me to just start going through all that mail to see if any of them sounded even slightly interesting; I did exactly that. Somewhere in the first pile was an envelope from Butler University, and it pretty much sealed the deal for me.
I don’t know what it was about it. I really don’t. I mean, I loved the school colors (blue and white) (hence our URL) and I liked the mascot (a bulldog) simply because it’s the mascot for my high school’s rival and I think that’s hilarious. I like basketball, so their program for that is huge (Big Ten, holler), and it’s a really good liberal arts school. It’s also a private college, so it has a pretty small population, and coming from a small town, that seemed important to me because I was going to be majorly out of my element at any college outside of Wisconsin the way it was. Either way, despite whatever it was inside that envelope that caught my attention, Butler became my dream school before I even knew what the campus was like.
So, what made me want to go out of state, you ask? Well.
Meet my hometown: population is 836; school population is less than 200; my graduating class had 50 of us. We have three gas stations; one of them has been shut down since before I was born and is now boarded up and crumbling to the ground. One of them was placed near the highway to hopefully contract some business. One of them is also a beer bar; this is the gas station/bar that I work at. Here, you cannot go to the local grocery store without knowing everybody by at least their first name. People walk and bike around more than they drive because it’s pointless to waste your gas. And everyone in my class has known each other since preschool, which is not as great as it might sound. In fact, it’s so awful that it is literally the sole thing that drove me to want to leave and never look back.
Two of my best friends back home basically did the most horrible thing they could have done to me. The rest of my friends all changed and became douches when I really needed them. And everything in general went to crap. So I wanted to get out, and I wanted to get out fast. Nothing seemed to be going right, and I wanted to start over. I wanted to be somewhere that reminded me of absolutely nothing; I didn’t even want to think about people from my school anymore. I wanted new people, new experiences, freedom, and — believe it or not — new responsibilities.
So enough of that sob story. Yeah, so, Butler just sort of appeared in my life and I’ve been incredibly thankful. The more research I did on it, the more I knew it was the school for me. The campus was, like, in its own little bubble. It’s not like it’s spread out all throughout Indianapolis, which would be awful. There’s no way you’ll have longer than a ten minute walk, and, as I’ve learned, there’s no way you can walk past someone whether you know them or not without receiving a warm greeting of some sort. Everyone here is so friendly.
Plus, John Green lives in Indianapolis. Awesome, right?
I loved the classes that were offered, I loved the events the school held, I loved everything. Everything from the dorm room sizes to the creative writing building, which is obviously right up my alley. The people, the places, the opportunities. Really. It just was the one for me. I know that sounds disgustingly cheesy, but hear me out. That’s how you know, okay? That’s how you know you’ve made the right decision. You can’t imagine yourself anywhere else, you can’t stop thinking about what you could do there, the people and friends you could meet there, how your life could change there. And as soon as you know, it’s like you’d do anything to get there. That was Butler for me, and if the schools you’re applying to aren’t like that for you, then you’re going about this wrong.
Don’t hesitate to do research on the schools that seem interesting to you. That’s how you’ll learn more about them. Schedule visits and tours (which are super fun), meet with professors in the department you’re interested in (the one I met with gave me a personal tour himself and he was so nice, like, he still remembers me too because that was forever ago and he’s talking to me about job opportunities he wants to give me before I should technically even be allowed to have them). There are so many things you can do to confirm that it’s the school for you. And it’ll be worth it when you finally unpack all your bags and look around and think wow, I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m staying here for a long time and it’s going to change my life and I’m going to let it. That should be college for you. That will be college for you if you let it happen.
So, that’s my story, basically. That’s how I ended up at Butler University, and I literally will never regret my decision no matter how much debt I’ll be in for the rest of my life (probably). So, uh, yeah, let’s ask Maria about her story.
Thanks super much Carissa!
Okay… First of all, both of my parents work at universities and have for many years (decades, CENTURIES – not really, many apologies mum and dad), so they wanted me to get started on the college search process early. Both of my siblings, as well as my father, graduated from Purdue University, so that was a negative (who wants to go to a school that the people will know you). Sophomore year I narrowed it down to a select few that I wanted to visit and learn more about: Earlham, Centre, Clark, UPenn, Haverford, and St. John’s in Santa Fe, NM. Yes, you read that correctly: Butler wasn’t even on my radar. So in the fall of 2012, my mum and I decided to road trip from my town of Brentwood, TN, up to my sister, Kyra, and her long time boyfriend, Chad, in Noblesville, Indiana, stopping by Earlham and Centre in KY and southern IN.
It was Sunday at my sister’s house and I just wanted to go home. The trip was horrible, the colleges were a disappointment, and I had homework to finish for school the next day. My mum begged me to look at Indiana University or Butler University since it would be on our way out of town. I refused IU (dad would be upset – ahem boilermaker family), and greatly protested Butler. After my mom practically dragged me to the campus, it was (cue cheesy music) love at first sight. Raining, cold, and completely gorgeous, Butler’s campus made me feel right. When you walk onto a college campus, you will get a feeling – it’ll either be bad, okay, or great. My mom and I walked into the bookstore and there were people STUDYING. *mind exploding* At the info session there was a video and a petite blonde came on the screen sitting in her pink room and my mom nudged me and snorted along with me (I know, smh too people). It wasn’t until she said she was a neuroscience/molecular biology double major that our eyes popped out of their sockets. As I kept learning about Butler, I felt my heart swell with happiness about finding somewhere I belonged.
My hometown isn’t bad – no, I am very privileged to have gone to the number one public non-charter school in my state of Tennessee. However, it is filled with snobby, white, conservative assholes who only have opinions thanks to their parental units. This isn’t to say that being white or a conservative is a bad thing, but it isn’t a good environment for me to have lived in for over ten years. Anyway, it’s the middle of my junior year (November of 2013) and I am complaining to my English teacher about the horrible things I observe, brought to you by BHS’ finest:
“Well, why don’t you just graduate early? During your senior year you can graduate in December and go to college a semester earlier!”
I was dumbfounded. Graduate? EARLY? Sprinting to the counselor’s office, I proposed this plan to my guidance counselor. Her response was, “Um in December or this May? You have enough credits to graduate as a junior.” I knew that I would have to work extremely hard, but it would be worth it in the end. A long process later, I graduated as a junior in high school, bypassing my senior year completely (no regrets) and planning on college for the fall. Now, I only recommend graduating early FOR THE CORRECT PEOPLE. It isn’t for everyone; in fact, it isn’t for the majority of people, but I was ready to move forward with my life and start a whole new adventure.
When applying to colleges, I only applied to Butler University (like Carissa), and I really do not think any of you should do that. It was foolish, but it was the only school either of us could see ourselves attending. And yes I am only 17 (#JailBait).
So those are our stories. Any questions, comments, or concerns we will be happy to answer for you.