Junior and senior year of high school, I obsessed about college. I swear I did not have a single conversation over those two years that did not touch on the topic of college in some way. Of course, this was not helped by the fact that when one is that age, everyone begins every conversation by asking, "So where are you applying?" And as soon as you can answer that, they begin asking, "So where are you going to go?" And as soon as you can answer that, they ask, "So what's your major?" And then, "What are you going to do after you graduate?" Really, it's enough to make anyone high-strung, and I was high-strung enough to begin with. (I am, after all, the person who had a mid-life crisis at age ten because I didn't know what my career goals were yet. Incidentally or not-so-incidentally, that's when I decided to become a writer. But that's another story.)
I had stacks and stacks of brochures from colleges. I sent away for the promotional videos. I made endless lists of pros and cons... You see, I knew that this was a Big Moment. Whichever direction I went, it would influence what I would do and who I would become. A lot of times, we have Big Moments and have no control over them or don't even recognize them as they happen, but I knew this was one and I had at least the illusion of control over it. Hence the freaking out.
My new novel ENCHANTED IVY is about Lily Carter, a 16-year-old caught in that pre-college obsession. Unlike the 16-year-old me, she knows where she wants to go: Princeton University. She just doesn't know if she's going to get in.
She also doesn't know that Princeton is a portal to a magical realm. If I'd known that, I totally would have done Early Decision.
As it was, I didn't end up deciding where to go until April of my senior year, a few days before the answer was due. After all my careful research and all my lists of pros and cons, I chose Princeton because of the trees. Seriously. I saw the arch of elm trees over Washington Street, and I was sold. In retrospect, this is perhaps not the best way to choose a college. But I loved it there. And it led to this book. So feel free to draw whatever moral you'd like from that. :)
44 days until ENCHANTED IVY!