In Dune, the alternate pathways of life choices lead to infinite possible futures. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated the impact making certain decisions have had upon my life. I realize the ripple down effect and sometimes wonder “What if . . .?”
My junior year in high school, Randolph Macon Women’s College sent a representative to San Antonio to talk to me. My parents, impressed that a college in Virginia showed so much interest in me, became determined to find a way to let me attend this extremely small, private institution. The scholarship package the school offered, along with grants and loans, covered everything but my transportation to and from the campus. Since the campus at that time closed down for Christmas break and Spring break, my parents would need to provide airfare several times a year. Or they would have to purchase a better car for me to make the drive from Texas to Virginia—alone. Either way, the finances didn’t add up since my father made less than $20,000 a year at that time. And so I made the choice to turn down this offer.
I logged this decision into the back of my mind, and only recently wondered about the life I would have led if I’d gone to that college. Instead of attending a huge university, I would have been one of 1,000 students. Who would I have met? Would I have continued with my plan to study for and receive a Masters and PhD in Psychology? Of course, I’ll never know.
By the end of my junior year in high
school, I’d narrowed down my college choices to either Trinity University here
in San Antonio or Texas A & M University in College Station. Although
Trinity cost a small fortune, the financial aid package I’d receive along with
my ability to live at home translated into an amount almost equal to A & M’s
offer along with the expenses of living in an apartment. I remember feeling
torn about which university to attend, and on a whim determined to let “Fate”
decide for me. I told my parents the first school to send acceptance papers
would settle my decision.
I don’t remember why my father picked me up one night at work, but I do recall his excitement when he told me I had letters in the mail. He wouldn’t, however, let me know which school had responded. I clung to him as he zipped his motorcycle down Loop 410, wondering what future I would allow serendipity to choose for me.
Then I stood at the dining room table and looked at two official envelopes! Yes. My resolution to let “Fate” intervene in my life was foiled. Both Trinity University and Texas A & M accepted me, and I received the news on the same day. I resorted to Pro and Con lists for both institutions. I talked to my teachers and my friends. I already spent quite a bit of time with friends attending Trinity, and they invited me to evenings at Bombay Bicycle Club to meet more students and several professors.
Just when I’d made my decision to attend Trinity, my father came home with the news that his job was transferring him to Houston, ruining my plan to live at home while I attended the more expensive Trinity.
Not many people know that Texas A & M had moved to my second choice. My father spent a weekend hunting down an apartment for me, and I lined up a roommate (who kept putting off signing the lease and then canceled just two weeks before school started). I ended up moving to College Station, living alone for the first semester, and stepping onto a different path with spectacular choices.
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman