By Kathleen Schaefer

Entering high school, I never thought about finding a place to fit in perfectly. I only really had one choice for a school and I enrolled in Casa without debating its flaws and imperfections. I did not fit in, but I never expected to.
High school was not made to cater to each individual student’s personalities and random quirks, but rather to provide a functional system where I can shove myself into any available opening and make it work.
And I don’t fit. I never fit.
Apparently college is supposed to be different. When choosing a school, the only advice most people give is to chase the elusive idea of a prefect fit.
But I don’t want to fit. I know enough of my own stubborn flaws to know that attending college crafted exactly for students like me will only leave me locked up in my dorm room finishing homework problems, until I had to emerge for my next class.
So when I had to finalize my college decision, I could have chosen any UC, where I knew I would have been happy, and where I knew I would fit in so perfectly that I could have locked my door and never been seen again.
Instead I chose Harvey Mudd, not because I knew I would love every moment there but because I would need to work in groups I don’t fit into and live on a campus that was not made just for me.
Maybe I am crazy to consciously choose a college I know will frustrate me to the point of tears on a regular basis and place me with a group of students who will take away the main distinction I had in high school of being at the top of the class.
Or maybe this is exactly the idea of perfect fit I tried to shun during my search for a college.
At Harvey Mudd I will be with insanely brilliant peers. I will work harder than I ever thought I could and learn more than I ever knew existed. And that idea excites me more than any picturesque campus created to make me happy.
I never wanted college to be the fairyland dream world that tour guides and advertising packets pretend it is. I want it to be a school that I will love one day and despise the next day.
If I find myself exhausted from a school that forces me into situations I try to avoid and exasperated by the multitude of students who comment on my eccentricities, I will know I made the right choice.