Trading Pastry for Fried Green Tomatoes

June 05, 2007

During my spring break last year, I felt a little out of place at the airport. Most people migrated south for the lovely delights of sun-kissed beaches, refreshing gelatos and flip-flops. However, I, the high school junior, headed up north with my ski jacket to visit some potential college choices. When my dad drove our rental car through the thick, snowy roads, he gruffly stated, “Next year, we are going to have a real vacation. I moved to Florida because I wanted to avoid the snow.”

While my family did not enjoy a “real” vacation last year, I don’t regret the experience. Despite the freezing temperature (for a Floridian) and the cheap motels, I learned so much from the trip and narrowed down my college list. College Web sites helped me look up interesting programs, clubs, classes and tuition rates, but the power of the Internet could not compare to walking around campus, tasting the food, and sitting in on an interesting lecture. The experience gave me a sense of whether I could fit in on a campus.

I am a second-semester senior now. I completed my applications and am in the process of ending my high school career. I need a real vacation. After studying Parisian culture in French II Honors, I was ready and eager to visit the infamous “City of Lights.” I know the language conversationally, have studied the beautiful and historic sights, and yearned to taste some authentic French pastries from a real patisserie.

Alas, financial constraints would hinder my plans. While decreased value of the dollar makes international travel difficult enough, I realized that I could not use my savings in the bank to travel quite yet. I am going to enter college in a few months. I decided that saving my work money would be more prudent.

What does a damsel in distress do when her plans get foiled? I decided that this spring break would be a “semi-college trip.” Instead of walking down the Champs-Elysées, I shall and venture around UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University with a latté at hand. Along the way, I will make a pit-stop for a carriage ride and fried green tomatoes in Charleston, South Carolina.

So far, the University of Florida and the University of Miami have accepted me into the class of 2012. While I am ecstatic that all of my top in-state schools have accepted me, I need to consider my top out of state schools. I need to jump out of my Florida fishbowl for a few days and swim in a completely different atmosphere.

From a pragmatic standpoint, trading Paris for a college campus might help me in the future. Paris will always stand as its beautiful and majestic self. I only have one chance to make this important college decision, and I am going to use the best of my time to reevaluate my college options.

I apologize, Dad. Je suis désolée, Paris. (I’m sorry, Paris). Maybe next year…

Need money to pay for college?

Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants and awards for which they actually qualify. Sign up today to get started. You'll find scholarships like the $2,000 "No Essay" Scholarship from Niche, a scholarship open to all U.S. students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months.

Join the Discussion