An Overnight Train Ride to a Final Destination: College

From The New York Times:

The college search is more than just a choice. It questions identity, aspirations and ability. However, these combined facets do not painlessly produce an answer.

College options are often limited by financial status or slashed by rejections. Even familial and societal pressures shape the path towards the college decision. If the road is not rocky enough already, the most tormenting position in the decision arrives when everything amounts to two college options of equal appeal. As an added vexation, there is the nightmarish possibility of having to swallow a choking amount of regret if the incorrect choice is made.

If a student sands each colleges’ mysteries down to the truth and is still fidgeting in indecision, I have discovered that the final verdict can be uncovered not in quantitative college facts sifted from a catalog but in distinct experiences.

I found my answer in rekindled memories of a train, a small town, and the people I met there.

With a forceful, mechanical heave, the train accelerated from the station at a predawn hour. It was yet another stop in a string of midnight passenger boarding that interrupted my sleeping pattern with every abrasive halt and shriek of the engine.

Nonetheless I awoke undaunted and jubilant later that morning, as it was my first train ride and visit to Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., a school I have had my eyes on since sophomore year…