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Virginia Rendler

Why Manchester?

by Virginia Rendler | Oct 26, 2016

 I want to talk about why I decided to come to Manchester. And I’ll be honest, it was not what I wanted to do. Manchester was bottom of my list—if all other schools burn down, last choice. I got accepted to every school that I applied to. (Except Northwestern, but they’re a bunch of nerds anyway.) I had my heart dead set on not going here, really for no valid reason. Mostly it had to do with the fact that my mom went here and I didn’t wanna be seen as someone who was just following their parent’s life plan. (Even though my parents have had really cool lives and if I could have even half of their intelligence and passion I would be set up for life.) And I really, really didn’t want to move to Indiana.

                So as I toured schools, I came to Manchester to humor my mom. I didn’t want to go to school in rural Indiana. I did not and I would not. I talked about it to my therapist, to my friends, to my dad. I would rather go the University of Minnesota, where I had gone for my past two years of high school, and live at home, than go to school in a cornfield. I toured Manchester pretty early on, and I liked it fine. I’d been to campus before so it felt familiar, people were nice, blah blah blah. I began to tour other schools. Loyola had a nice location, but they were much more accommodating of my diet at Manchester. Lewis and Clark and University of Colorado Boulder were amazing, but Manchester was much more affordable. Northwestern was okay, but the faculty at Manchester were much more personable. DePaul was cool, but Manchester was much more of a campus vibe. Portland State and University of Chicago were alright, but they didn’t have a strong peace studies program.

                So maybe someone who wasn’t blinded by bias against Indiana could see what was going on here. I was walking home from school with my best friend one day, discussing colleges, and I realized I was comparing everything to Manchester University. Manchester gave me everything that I was looking for and I was treating it like the gold standard, weighting every school against it, yet wasn’t even an option for me. And why not? They had clubs I cared about, faculty I knew, and programs that made me feel like I actually knew what I was doing with my life. So on that walk home from school I called my mom and said, “I actually think I’m going to go to Manchester.” At this point, I can confidently say it was the right decision. (I kind of expected her to throw a party and never have reason to be upset with me ever again but that didn’t quite happen. She did buy me Indian food though.)

                I did have to go through a period of convincing everyone that this actually was my decision. They kind of looked at me like I was crazy, given that I had been more willing to run away from home than go to Manchester a few days before. But I was able to explain to them that Manchester would support me, give me a family away from home, and that feeling of familiarity when I toured was actually a feeling of home. And now that I’m here, it’s impossible to imagine being somewhere else. I hate the thought of not knowing the people I know here, and not being involved in the things that I am. I could be happy somewhere else, but I think I am becoming my best self here. 

Virginia Rendler ’20 is a Peace Studies major, and is hoping to double major in English, as well as double minor in Spanish and Visual Art. She loves animals and is a Leo.