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Accepted.. but not to first choice.

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Hey Everyone,

I finally heard back from all my schools. I was extremely disappointed to find out that I had not been accepted to my first choice. Similar to other stories, I had the blessing of the professor I wanted to work under, had an extremely strong application (in my opinion), and had solid letters of recommendation from individuals in the field. However, I was only accepted to one university.

The school is University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and I am very nervous about this choice. First of all, it is several hours away from where I had hoped to be. I am worried about leaving family, lifelong friends, and my significant other. I don't want to sound whiney, because after all I was accepted at least somewhere. However, the thought of this adjustment is making me feel sick to my stomach.

I don't have a problem meeting people, but the city is very, very small. I'm afraid I will have nothing to do and no one to do it with.

I am curious as to whether anyone here has, first of all, experience with the school, and second, any experience similar to mine that would help give me some guidance.

Much appreciated.

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I'm an international student and have been living away from families and lifelong friends for almost 5 years now (I'm currently working after graduating last May). I'm not an extremely shy person, but I'm not super outgoing either. I can tell you that it was a lot of adjustment to make, not just being away from home, social support network, but also from my culture and country. That said, it wasn't terrible either. I enjoyed the academic environment of my school (a highly selective liberal arts college) and made some good friends. I hated the small town though - and I imagine it will somewhat be similar to South Dakota, although it was a middle-of-nowhere Midwest town. I grew up in a big, bustling, exciting Asian city, so it was just...ugh, frustrating I guess. Did you grow up in a big city? Do you LIKE big cities? Ask yourself those questions before you move somewhere so different. I have a friend who grew up in Houston and hated my school's town and transferred to a school in NYC, and was much happier there. I've also heard of similar stories from friends in those New England selective liberal colleges.

The upside of this experience was that I learned a lot about myself, whether I wanted it or not, and might have grown up a lot more. I'm sure if I stayed at home where I'm always pampered by the best people in the world (aka friends and family), I wouldn't be as mature (I'm not that mature, just more than I would have been) and experienced as I am today. So you can consider this as a chance to drastically change yourself ?:) Esp. if you're outgoing as you say it will be even more enjoyable. It usually takes me a long time to become friends with people but once the friendship is built it sticks- heck I'm still very very good friends with people from middle school and high school; I don't think that's usually the case in the US. Friend circles are a lot more flexible here. Which was hard for me, but will be good for an outgoing person - you will make new friends fast, and that would ease the transition from being the out-of-towner to the insider.

Re: sig. other, I'm not sure if my advice is of any use to you, because I specifically chose to apply to areas near where my SO works so I can be with him or so we can visit each other easily. But that's my personal choice. We've also done long distance relationship for 2 years - it's ok. It was hard at first but it got easier (doesn't mean it's fun lol). If you both know it's long term and are willing to make the efforts, I think you'll be ok even if you're far away. But that's also something you have to ask yourself: how attached are you guys? What type of beliefs/thinking you guys have that would affect the long-distance thing? If you're the type who likes to have someone around just to hang out or need to, um, have sex, or have severe insecurities about yourself or the other person, LDR might not be for you.

It's a hard choice to make, but just do whatever that's best for you - what you think that is best for you right now, that is. If you try to make the most out of it, I think you'll be fine wherever you go. Also, the important thing to consider is whether you do truly like this "non-first-choice" school you go to. If you don't like it enough, the bitterness coupled with the loneliness might not make it a smooth ride for you in grad school.

Good luck!

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