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When It Comes to Choosing a College There Are No Bad Decisions

On Monday, my love of 26 years (married for almost 21) headed into the hospital for seven straight days. It's his turn as a doctor to brave the pandemic and risk his life to save others. I'm going to be honest, we've never been good with timing.

We had our first child during his fellowship in gastroenterology when he worked 100 hours a week. We had our second child when I was a dean of admissions working 100 hours a week. And our third child came without a plan. But no matter the timing, we have always had each other.

In this moment of great uncertainty, I think back to how I ended up meeting Justin. As many of you know, we both attended a small gem of a college, Hamilton College. Yes, named after our famous founder and namesake of the most successful Broadway show ever, Alexander Hamilton. Justin was this super smart boarding school guy. I was the public school girl. No confidence. No game. 
But we both ended up at the same place. His choice was out of comfort—Hamilton was close to home for him and was a walk in the park compared to boarding school. My choice was out of discomfort—Hamilton was a stretch for me in every single way. Financially, academically, and socially. It's a miracle we ended up at the same college.
I am reminded of how many high school seniors are trying to decide where to go to college right now. Amidst this chaos, they worry about going too far from home if something else happens in the world or staying too close to home and missing out. Do you take the safe bet or take the risk? 

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Justin often tells me that he always plays it safe in life and I am the one always taking risks. He's right to some extent. In a normal world, his job is reliable. Yet it took me years to make a profit when I started my own business
Regardless of our paths, we both got such an incredible education even though one of us seemingly played it safe and the other took a chance. That safety provided Justin with incredible confidence to do the unthinkable in his mind—to become a physician. As much as he says he doesn't take risks, Hamilton taught him that when he does, he will soar far beyond what he even thought he was capable of. The unknown that Hamilton initially stood for me gave me assurances to do the unthinkable as well. That is the power of a college education. 
So all those high school seniors wondering if they should play it safe or venture far, far away, know that you will thrive in college not because of distance, reputation or a lack thereof, but because of what you are made of. We are all built to take risks even when no one else around us is willing to do that. 
High school seniors, you cannot make a bad decision here. You will get an incredible education no matter where you go to college. Education isn't just about attending lectures in stately halls by famous professors and meeting cool classmates from all over the world. Your education happens because of you. Make the most of every day. Make the most of wherever you end up. And make the most of your life. 
That is what Justin has taught me in our life together. I hope he knows how proud I am of him in this moment. It's his time to take risks and it's my time to play it safe. Timing may not be great, but we are in this together.