Wednesday morning, September 21, 4:30 am. In just over four hours, my first day of classes at Dartmouth will officially begin. I’m sitting on the red circular seat at the entrance of the Hop, which I’m convinced is simply wood with one layer of upholstery draped over the top, as alert as I can be after being abruptly woken from a state of quasi-slumber. Men’s a capella auditions, second round.
After not making it to the third, final round of auditions (yet still sleeping through the paroxysmal beeping of my alarm clock and my first class), I was justifiably upset. I had never sung in a choir before, let alone an a capella group, but I was convinced that I had a wonderfully melodious voice. After all, my friends and family had insisted on it, and they wouldn’t lie to me. The truth was that the standards had simply changed. Everyone had 18 years of life experience before we met, and everyone had devoted themselves for years to their extracurricular passions. For some, it was singing. It dawned on me what it really meant to leave my public high school in suburban Wisconsin.
I felt as though I was the subject of a grave injustice. I too, had literally spent every waking hour during my final two years of high school on Academic Decathlon, and Dartmouth didn’t even offer a near substitute. I was left to carve a new path out for myself, while everyone else continued what they’d been doing for ages. But slowly, I began to see it for what it really was: unbridled opportunity to discover my true self. Although I still have no clue about what new interest I’ll stumble upon next, I’m ever grateful for the strange conspiracies of fate that brought me to where I am today.