Spring break’s limited engagement has come to an end. For some, it was a staycation with games and practices in full swing. For others, it was relaxing on a beach or touring a foreign city. For me, it was traversing college campuses looking for a new home for the next four years, a detour from my usual trip to sunny paradise.

Attending accepted student days is a significant part of the college process that I was completely unaware of. Once I hit submit on my final college application, I thought I was done. Yet three and a half months after that ominous Jan. 1 deadline, the college process continues! Folders, pens, and the occasional T-shirt were thrown in my face to persuade my decision. At the end of each day, the president’s welcome, student panels, and information sessions left me with a more difficult decision than the day before. Campus and residential tours had me debating city versus rural campus, big or small student body, and most importantly, where I fit best. Every day was a glimpse into my future. Of course, when you find the perfect school, you know it. It may not be in the exact location you had planned or be the exact size that you wanted, but it will have the unique courses, organizations, and opportunities that you seek.

Making your college decision is an interesting process. First, you pour your heart and soul into a perfectly crafted essay that will convince the admissions office to put you in the “accepted” pile. Then the tables turn and the colleges host you at their accepted student day, doing everything in their power to woo you into paying your deposit.

The system works well, with one small exception: the ambiguous waiting list. I mentioned in a previous column that I had no idea what anxieties accompany the waiting list. Well, now I do. The good news: you were not flat out rejected. The bad news: you were not accepted either. When your perfect school puts you on the waiting list, you are left with extended feelings of anticipation and what-ifs. And while you wait for your final fate, there are only a limited number of days until May 1 to choose a school that gave you a definite “yes.”

I may not have been given the relaxing break I sought, but the seemingly endless college visits did inspire me to finish out these remaining days strong in preparation for AP tests. Fortunately, as we return to the routine of school, Wilton has become its own oasis. Forsythia paints the town in yellow and the river trail is engulfed in fresh greenery. While Wilton is no beach vacation, it is still an amazing place to come back to. Next year spring break will offer the same week of splendor. The only question is, will I jet off to a sun-filled paradise, or venture back to the ideal retreat, home.


Julia Vitarelli is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.