Welcome to Maybe University

By Gauri Mangala
Features Editor

“We’re here.”

As soon as you step out of the car after God knows how many hours and stretch your legs, the air immediately feels different, as it should. This could be it, your school, your home after graduation. This could be the first day of the rest of your life. No pressure.

“Welcome! Refreshments are just down the hall. The auditorium is to the left, enjoy your tour today.”
You smile, nod, and then awkwardly slip a “you, too” into your hasty reply. Idiot.

You walk in, consciously looking at everyone else’s outfits, adjusting your own. Everyone is super friendly and seems willing to give you a kidney if you asked. Is everyone in college this nice? There don’t seem to be cliques or mean girls or drama. Maybe college will be great.

Maybe. The word looms over you. It is embedded in your shadow, following you with each step you take.
You gather with everyone else into the auditorium. The dean walks out and thanks everyone for attending.

“This is such a smart decision you all have made in coming to visit today.”

You find yourself perched on the edge of your seat, holding on to his every word. Your knee starts bouncing and,
suddenly, you are a ball of anxiety. The dean starts discussing how successful his students are and rattling off semi-famous examples of the school’s accomplished graduates.

They are going to start throwing acceptance letter confetti at the end of this right? Please? That’s the only way you are getting into this school.

“Feel free to sift through your information packets in front of you.”

Oh great, a folder full of information that forces you to break a sweat: tuition brochures, sports offered list, possible majors.

Majors. Crap. You knew you were forgetting something. Okay, no need to panic. No time like the present, right? Right? How about biology, pre-med? Yeah, you could be a surgeon. Oh wait, that means cutting people open and stuff. Gross. Engineering? Who are you kidding? You barely passed Algebra 2.

Yay, another thing you forgot about: Passing. How are you going to get into this school? Your grades must look like crap to them. Most of the kids here probably have crazy GPAs.

“If you would just exit the auditorium our student tour guides would be happy to show you all around the campus.”
Wait. What if you’re the one with the crazy GPA? Maybe you can’t pick a major because you are great at so many things. Yeah, that’s it. Definitely. Oh, is everyone getting up? It’s time to tour the school. Your school?


There’s that word again. “Maybe.” But this time you wrap it around yourself like a security blanket. You are suddenly comfortable with your discomfort.

You rise slowly and realize your leg has fallen into a coma. As you stumble down the stairs to the tour guides, you realize how incredibly attractive they are. Does college suddenly make everyone gorgeous?

You find your tour guide, an unbelievably peppy girl who looks like she was pulled directly out of a college brochure. As you start the tour, she discusses her countless achievements, activities and qualifications. You feel unworthy just looking at her. The word “maybe” starts feeling a bit heavier.

“I want to welcome you guys to what could be your home soon. Maybe.”

Great, now she is saying it.

She walks backwards down the sidewalk with the grace of a princess. You can barely sit down without falling on your face.

“The campus is so tight-knit. You feel like one big family here.”
You picture yourself in the crowded school hallways: constantly surrounded and constantly isolated at the same time. College seems too good to be true.

“Let me show you where you would have your classes.”

She takes you into a classroom. You immediately sit front row and regret the decision immediately. Why did you do that? That is so not you. Did the college student in you just take over? The “maybe” starts to ease up.
The chairs are so comfortable. No one has mentioned this to you before. In college, there chairs are soft and cushioned and oh-so luxurious. The “maybe” fades even more.

You could do this.

“And this is an example of a typical dorm room.”

She has got to be kidding. A new found wave of claustrophobia sets in as you begin to picture yourself stuck in a 12’-by-19’ cinderblock box with a roommate. And suddenly you don’t understand the appeal of college life.
“Are the bathrooms co-ed?”

Wait, you know that voice. Oh right, your mom came. You almost forgot that anything that wasn’t the college. You are so immersed in everything that is new that everything else is irrelevant.

You continue walking and let it all soak up. The buildings are all massive and old and beautiful. Everything is surreal.

“This is where you would usually eat your meal.”

And now you get it. Everything smells fantastic and you just walked in. Sushi, Paninis, salads, pizza, soup. Why would anyone even leave? You would welcome your freshmen 15 with open arms.

You thumb your free meal voucher, knowing you are going to be back here and try everything that you possibly can.

You are in a haze the rest of the tour. Until you get to the library.

Oh, the library. A huge building with multiple floors: it puts the local one back home to shame. You gasp to yourself.

“During finals week the library will stay open 24 hours a day.”

You hear parents gasp and mutter about how no one needs to be up that late. You laugh to yourself. Amateurs.

You head back to cafeteria and stuff your face with the college goodness. Freshmen 15? More like Freshmen 50.

You follow the crowd to another seminar. This one is about applying and financial aid and all that jazz. You listen but slowly you start zoning out because it’s finally hitting you. That word. Maybe. It’s more than just about this school. It’s about life.

Maybe to college. Maybe to a career. Maybe to a family. Maybe to success.

Your “maybe” grows heavier and suddenly, you have chills. This is it. Life starts here. You feel the existential crisis coming on. It’s all too real. You feel your mom’s hand grip your arm and you slowly ease up. You aren’t alone. There are people to help you on this journey to your maybe.

“Ready to go?”

And as you closed the car door, ready to head back to home. Ready to head towards your maybe and make it your reality. No pressure.