How My Food Allergies Affected My College Decision

I am about to deliver a statement that might surprise some people: a school’s dining services DID NOT affect my college decision. From the beginning of my college search, I decided that I would not let my food allergies restrict me in this way. I knew I wanted to choose a college that made me happy, and for me, that means a school with an accredited architecture program, a sense of community on campus, and a value placed on community service; I wanted a place to call home – not just my school. Therefore, I decided to not place any value on the dining services, because I knew that no matter where I choose to attend, I would be able to find something to eat.

When it came down to it, something that did affect my decision because of my allergies was the distance. By mid-April, I had narrowed it down to two schools: The Catholic University of America in Washington DC and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana. These two schools both have an outstanding architecture program, an amazing sense of community, and great opportunities for community service. In the end, the largest difference for me between the two is the distance – by car, CUA is 4 hours away and ND is 10 hours away. My mom kept reiterating to me that if I ever have an allergic reaction and am hospitalized, it would be a lot easier for them to travel 4 hours than 10, and we both loved that all the family I have in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area would be able to help me if I ever need it. At Notre Dame, I would be isolated and alone in any emergency situation, without any family nearby.

Although location was not the only factor in my final decision, it was enough that it made an impact. College is a completely new experience, and I will have to learn how to live with my food allergies in a completely different environment. This means that there is a larger chance that I might make mistakes, and I know its worth having access to family that I know and trust if I ever need it. I know CUA was the right choice.

~Alli

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