I am a student and not, in fact, a parent, but would really like some advice for parents out there, so I hope it is alright to post here.
I'm a US citizen attending an international school, and will be matriculating at Brown next fall. I was extremely happy before (Yale and Brown were my top choices, because I thought they offered me what I was looking for academically and socially), but am now second guessing myself due to the reactions of those around me.
Rankings and "prestige" didn't matter all that much to me before, but it seems that to the general "public" in the country where I now live (which is in Asia), the prestige of a school is very important. Brown doesn't seem to be a very well-known school here, and some people have been implying that it isn't that great.
I am sal this year, but did not apply to Princeton or Harvard because I wasn't sure if I fit the schools quite as well. However, there are two students from my school going to each school, and now my parents are asking why I didn't apply (and they were aware of my college choices). Everyone is making a big deal out of these four students, and after flipping through some random CC threads I seriously started to wonder if I ought to have applied to those schools as well...and have since become somewhat obsessed with "HYPSM".
Everyone at school only seems to be able to talk about colleges all day, and a few of my peers have made some not-so-pleasant comments about Brown (especially making use of the pot-smoking hippie stereotype and the "joke of the Ivy League"). Most people aren't so candid, but do insinuate a lot of the same things. I feel terrible admitting this, but I am now seriously doubting my college choice and somehow have a feeling of inadequacy in the pit of my stomach. My parents are disappointed as well.
Although my regret began to form as a result of these reactions, it's not just about that now but about all the good things I've been hearing about "HYPSM". So many people I know (and threads around here, too) seem to make out that HYPSM are just such better schools overall (in terms of academics and the experiences offered). This has only made the problem worse, as I feel as if I am missing out on some amazing experience (not just a "name"). Also, since I keep hearing that it is possible to find your niche at any college, I can't help but think that I should've just applied (I've never visited any of these schools, and people also say that you'll never know about "fit" until you actually go to a school). I am more of an extroverted person, and usually can adapt to most social settings.
I honestly know that I ought to be happy and I really want to be, but it is kind of difficult when no one around me seems to be very happy for me. It has gotten to the point where I no longer look forward to college next year, and have become fixated on the regret of not applying to the two aforementioned colleges and have wondered what would happen if I took a year off to reapply. It's not so much that I feel as if I would have been in a shoo-in (that would be crazy) or anything like that, but that I should've at least tried.
But...I suppose it is too late to do anything. Any advice on how I should sort out these feelings, and also handle my parents and peers?
I sincerely apologize if this comes off sounding "spoiled" (for lack of a better word) as I do understand I am very fortunate. However, I am now a mess, emotionally, and while I am all for "carving your own path" and "only the people who matter know these are all good schools", it's difficult attempting to dismiss the opinons of everyone around me.