Rae GrayFrom the ages of five to seventeen, only one thing stayed constant in my life: my dream university. Other aspects changed – interests, friends, hairstyle – but I always wanted to end up at this one school. When college application time came around my senior year, I wasn’t scrambling like everyone else to figure out what I wanted. I was going to my dream school, and made sure just about all my classmates knew it (they would have had to have been pretty thickheaded not to know this already but I told them again anyway).

Decision time came around and WHAMMO! Rejected. Not waitlisted. Not deferred. Flat out rejected. I was emotionally totaled. Now, I had experienced disappointment before – rejection is one of my constant companions, being a professional actor and all – but this was my dream! The one thing! The only thing! And it was down the tubes with the opening of an email, the click of a mouse. By some strange stroke of fate, or, perhaps, just a lucky coincidence, I got into another school that, at the time, didn’t seem like the right place. Now that I’ve been there a year, I know it’s the real thing. My freshman year was certainly the best year of my life. I can’t imagine going to a better school than the one I do now. I could go on and on about how great it is, and how it’s even better than my first choice, but my point is (and this applies to all kinds of dreams) that people get fixated on one thing, what they think is “the real thing,” and a lot of the time, it doesn’t happen, or doesn’t turn out the way they want it to. But I also find, a lot of the time, what happens instead is even better.