Opinions, Column

An Ode to College Application Season: My “Why BC?” Three Years After Applying

The end of summer and the subsequent return to school is an important span of time. For me, the end of August means frantically packing up my things, quitting my insufferable job, and heading back to the Heights. But, it wasn’t always like this. And for high school students everywhere, the end of summer and the beginning of senior year really only means one thing: college application season is upon them.

As the sibling of a high school senior, watching my sister agonize over the Common App, study for the SAT, and most importantly, agonize over which school, if any, she will apply Early Decision to, has made me weirdly reminiscent of the college process. Not in the sense that I miss applying—because that was literal hell—but I miss the newness of college and what it felt like to apply to Boston College. All of the campus visits, carefully crafted supplemental essays, and emails to BC admissions are made in a desperate hope to convey that you’re the “right choice.” But simultaneously, you might try to convince yourself that BC is truly the right place for you. So, three years after applying with two years of college in the rearview mirror, this is my “Why BC.” To my surprise, it’s wildly different from when I applied.

The “Small Spaces”

Few things are certain in life: death, taxes, and BC admissions plastering Gasson on every single piece of their marketing material. So inevitably, as a 17-year-old drawn to the aesthetically pleasing aspects of college, I ate this up. Although superficial, when deciding to apply to BC, its gothic-style architecture and famous buildings—like Gasson—were a huge motivating factor. What a tour guide and an admissions pamphlet can’t show you, however, are all the “small spaces” that exist across campus that I would argue give Gasson a run for its title. These “small spaces” do wonders to make a big campus feel homey and personal. 

Whenever I’m having a not-so-good, very bad day, you can find me on the Stokes Bridge sipping a coffee while doing some light reading (and maybe even a little online shopping). From the perch of a worn-in chair, looking out onto the quad, campus feels somewhat distant, leaving me to exist momentarily in my own personal universe. The beauty of this “small space” is that it relegates you to the role of campus observer. You’re still present, but also left alone to read, drink coffee, and do my favorite activity: people-watching. In a spot like this, you can decompress while also appreciating the bustle of campus. Stokes Bridge is truly the perfect in-between-class oasis.

The Reservoir

I know that the Chestnut Hill Reservoir isn’t technically on campus, but I feel as though the BC community has claimed it as our own. When I applied to BC, I don’t even think I knew what the Reservoir was. But now, it is one of the places that I most strongly associate with BC. Whenever I need a dose of “nature,” I put on my sneakers and head to the Reservoir. Whether I’m walking alone or with a group, time spent along the Reservoir is time spent well. In my mind, the Reservoir acts as sort of a metaphorical bridge, connecting residential BC on one side, to Boston and Cleveland Circle on the other. The best part about the Reservoir are the benches scattered around the perimeter. Personally, I’ve never sat at the benches, but I appreciate the variety of the people they attract. At BC, it’s easy to get caught up in the “bubble” and find yourself spending time with the same type of people everyday. At the Reservoir, however, the people sitting on the benches exist outside the “bubble,” acting as an important reminder that Boston and the surrounding communities aren’t just made up of BC students. 

The Community

For BC, the adage “the people make the place,” applies. The people I’ve met here are unlike any other. When thinking about the people I’ve met while at BC, I feel like I see the best parts of human nature personified and magnified. Without getting too sappy, I would describe my friends here as equal parts inspirational and genuine. Being at BC with them encourages me to be the best and most genuine version of myself. When I’m not on the Heights, I spend my time at home, counting down the seconds until I can return to campus. Being at BC feels like a warm hug in the best possible way.

If I were writing my “Why BC” essay today, I would emphasize all of these things along with making a variety of promises for myself. I would promise I would make the most out of these four years and cherish every second. I would promise to be a great friend and community member. I would also promise to attend office hours, go to church, call my mom, etc. Basically, I would do or say anything just for the opportunity to come to school here. So, three years after submitting my application, I can confidently say that I made the right choice.

September 25, 2022