By Katie Wilkinson
Distinguished Young Woman of Arizona for 2013
Many times in life when things seem to not go our way, we choose to be pessimistic and fail to find the good in these situations. My college admission story is a perfect example of a blessing in disguise.
My junior year in high school I took a California college road trip with my mom to visit all of the California universities to which I was considering applying. When I first stepped on to the campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, I experienced that feeling I heard about. That feeling of “this is the place I am supposed to be” and ultimately a feeling that I can only describe as “home”. Ever since that day, I had my heart set on Pepperdine and it became my dream school.
I submitted my application to Pepperdine the first day applications could be submitted in August of my senior year! I was a little bit excited to say the least. However, that meant I had to wait all the way until March to hear if I had been accepted. Finally the day arrived that I would receive the infamous email deciding my fate. My heart was racing, and I was filled with anxiety and excitement. After refreshing my email for what seemed like hours, it finally popped up. With butterflies in my stomach, I opened the email and read, … “After careful consideration of your file, we are not able to offer you admission for Fall 2013.” My heart dropped. I immediately thought I was denied from my dream school, and I broke into tears. I failed to continue reading the rest, …“However, based upon your impressive academic record, personal attributes, and potential as a prospective student, the Committee is pleased to offer you admission for the Spring 2014 semester, which begins in January 2014.” Once I realized that I was “spring deferred” and that there was a chance I could attend my dream school, I began to consider the option of beginning in January. I was determined to begin my college career in the fall with the rest of my graduating class. I put deposits down on three schools and was very stressed that I didn’t have an answer to the, “Where are you going to college” question. Even when I graduated from high school in May, I still had not decided where I would be spending the next 4 years. Finally, a week after graduation, I received a financial aid awards package from Pepperdine, and I never looked back. At that point, all thoughts of starting at a school in the fall didn’t matter. I was going to my dream school in the spring.
So, how would I spend my first semester of college? I chose to take classes at Arizona State University near home while taking advantage of an academic scholarship there. Honestly, I was very sad that I was missing all of the fun in Malibu during the first semester, as I felt I was being left behind and felt that I would be alone in January when I finally attended Pepperdine. I tried to make the best of my first semester, and it didn’t take long for me to realize what a true blessing in disguise it was to be spring deferred. While I was attending ASU, I was able to do things that I would never have been able to had I been away from home. I was able to attend my high school Homecoming and perform as an alumni pommie at the football game, become extremely involved with my state DYW program and really get to know the amazing girls competing before handing over my title. I was also given the opportunity to sing at my high school holiday alumni concert, and spend lots of time with my family before leaving. I learned a lot at ASU and really did enjoy my time there, but I could not wait to finally get to Pepperdine.
I was that girl who had a daily countdown on her phone until the day I left. My excitement was through the roof! Before arriving on campus, I felt like I was alone and no one else was in my shoes. However when I arrived for New Student Orientation, I found that there were 100 students in my position; we all felt relieved knowing we weren’t alone. Being part of a small group, made it more fun and easier to bond and create friendships.
Being spring deferred to Pepperdine was a blessing for me. I begin classes this week and I am so grateful to the Distinguished Young Women program for providing me with scholarship money to help make my first semester payment at my dream school. Always remember, that even if at first something doesn’t seem to go your way, try looking closer … it may just be a blessing in disguise.
Katie Wilkinson is a college freshman at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California majoring in Sports Medicine and minoring in Communications. Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Katie was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Arizona for 2013. Learn more about Katie here!