Choosing to go to university is one very big decision. Choosing which university is another. I like to tell people that I chose CMU because of the Great Hall and I’ve always wanted to go to Hogwarts. There is some truth to that, but the real story is a little less easy to explain in a single sentence.

I made my decision to attend CMU because of a campus visit day. Before that visit, I was dead set against CMU. I wasn’t interested in taking theology courses, I’m not Mennonite, and I wanted to study math. However, once I actually visited CMU and met some of the professors over coffee, my obstinance melted away. I didn’t realize how anxious I was about leaving high school until I met the people who would become my professors. That anxiety disappeared through conversation. It was comforting to know that the people who gave up their free afternoons to sit and talk with a bunch of high school students were the same people who would be teaching me. I knew that that was an environment I wanted to learn in, and that these were people I wanted to learn from. In the end, I figured out what I want to do with my life thanks to a class I took with one of the professors I had coffee with that afternoon.

If I hadn’t visited CMU, I know that I would not be studying what I am, I would not be the person I am, and my life would be going an entirely different (probably mathematical) direction. I’m still not Mennonite, I ended up loving my theology courses, and although I discovered a passion for communications studies, I still find the time to take a few math classes here and there.

University is going to change your life. It’ll be unlike any experience you’ve ever had. Whether your life changes for the better or not depends a lot on the university.

Ayla Manning is one of CMU’s Student Ambassadors

Click here to learn more about CMU’s upcoming Campus Visit Days