everything I wish I'd said in my college interviews


by Kyla Rain || photo by Marley Aguirre

College interviews are a daunting process, and going into it, I thought I would be fine. I usually love interviews, I think it’s fun being able to talk about thing that you’re passionate about, to people who just want to know more about you. But walking into the office, in front of my eleven-person admissions committee, I began to feel panic settle in. I had prepared for this all week, but when it got down to business, something in me switched off.

Sure, I could chalk it up to all of the outside factors; my interview started so fast I hardly had time to remember each person’s name, I hadn’t eaten anything yet, I had prepped for the wrong questions. These things might have added to my nerves and scrambled brain, but in the end, it just comes down to me.

I feel like I didn’t do the best I could do.

Beforehand, I had been told that the admissions councilors genuinely set you up for success (which they do, I really admired everything they did to make me feel comfortable in an intimidating environment), but then if I didn’t succeed, did I just waste one of the best opportunities to come my way?

I know the answer is no, because I tried my absolute best and sometimes that’s just how it goes! But the fact that I don’t feel like I did the best I could have is what’s eating at me. I don’t think I care about the admissions letter as much as I do about knowing that they understood what I was trying to get across (although an admissions letter would change my life). There are a good amount of questions I feel like I answered really well, ones that I’m proud of, but were are also a good amount that were so very important to me in which I didn’t get across what I wanted to.

So no, this article won’t give you any tips and tricks into the interview process; maybe I’ll write one later on if you would all like. But this piece, this is for me. This is more for the sake of my sanity more than anything else. Because ever since my interview I’ve been reenacting each question over and over, thinking about what I said and what I really meant to portray, what I wish I could go back and re-do. I have 33 more days until the estimated time for admissions letters, and I don’t know if I could survive that without writing down my intentions, putting them into the world and hoping they come back to me.

This is more for me to know that someone besides myself understands what I was trying to talk about, which points I was trying to hit, because if someone knows then maybe I didn’t mess everything up, maybe I didn’t waste their time because I had something to say.


Yes, what first inspired me to start Pure Nowhere was finding the local scene, going to my first concert and finding this beautiful and welcoming group of people. The scene helped me get over my social anxiety, and figure out exactly the kind of person I want to be. I wasn’t good enough at guitar to be in a band, so I decided to start the magazine. That was the initial beginning, but as we grew, it became so much more. I talked about how when I was younger, I struggled with finding something that would allow me to get my voice into the world. Once I found that thing, found Pure Nowhere, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who felt like that. As we grew, and I began to distance from the scene a bit, the reason why I kept Pure Nowhere going was for everyone who reads, everyone who submits. Knowing that others have a place where they can speak freely, share their art, figure out who they are, and become part of one of the most supportive communities - that’s why I do Pure Nowhere. Because the impact is worth all the work it takes to get there.

I think what makes Pure Nowhere different from other magazines, those who have folded and all of them still running, is the fact that we’re not trying to make content that expires with a timestamp. We’re not trying to tell you that all everything we publish is the most important thing you will ever read, that it will change your life. We’re not doing this for money, although we are trying to grow into a fully functioning business, that’s not at the root of why we do this. We do this because we sincerely care about each and every person who is and has been a part of Pure Nowhere, because we’ve seen the first hand impact that just listening can make. We’re different because our pieces don’t come from hands that hold a degree, that were hired because they’ve done this sort of thing as a career. It’s actually kind of the opposite, because the people who often go unheard are the ones who don’t have the means to speak. We don’t care about the credentials, we care about the person and what they have to say, because too many voices have gone silent in the wake of privilege.

We’re trying to create art that we know our readers will benefit from, because we benefit from it ourselves. Something that’s messy and real, something that inspires not because it was created to inspire, but because it grew from a place of vulnerability.

I understand that my math SAT score was not where it needs to be, not even close. I cannot express how hard I worked to make that better, the fact that I know I knew the information but couldn’t remember how to apply it. We don’t have much money, but paid for a tutor all summer, and I studied harder than I ever had. When I got my second score back it was better than my first, but still not quite where I wanted it to be. I was so close, and in that moment I realized that the test score doesn’t speak on my ability in math, because I do well in the class itself. I enjoy the class itself, and all the different ways my school ties it into our passions and real world, something I know the college does as well. I didn’t give up, quite the opposite, I knew that I did the absolute best I could and I was proud of myself, I was proud of that score, because I worked hard to get it. But I do understand that it’s not quite up to the school’s expectations, and to make up for that, I tried to push myself even harder on my entire application as a whole, and I think that shone through.

Despite math not being one of my strongest subjects, I ace all of my math classes, and pushed myself to take a college statistics class. I started my after school math study group because I know I need to get better at this, and I wanted to create an environment that would benefit not only myself, but my peers as well. Because I work better in a team, bouncing ideas off one another and having at least a few different methods of explanation. It also helped boost our self confidence, knowing that we were all getting better together, teaching others in areas where we ourselves understood.

I want to go into this school over my second choice major because I don’t just want to study creative writing. I know I touched up on the fact that, before finding this school, I was hesitant on if I wanted to attend a four year or not, but I don’t want you to think that I just didn’t want to attend college, because that really wasn’t the case. I talked about how, in the beginning of this process, I was scared that college would only hold me back from achieving my dreams, from pursuing opportunities and furthering the magazine. But what I failed to mention was that this fear was constantly at odds with my incessant need to learn, with the knowledge that there was so much more out there I had to take notes on. I have a real and genuine passion for school, and just the idea of being able to study what I’m passionate about lights me up. It was finding this school, this major, that made me realize that I had the wrong idea. To find a good school it to find a place that will encourage and nurture your passions, dreams and aspirations, not make you put them on hold. If you find the right school, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything, and that’s why I’d want to go to this school specifically, this school only. Because I don’t want to study just creative writing. I want to learn web design, computer analytics, business strategy, communication, design, social activism, and yes, creative writing.

I want to be able to know every aspect of my business, because if I don’t, how can I expect it to succeed?

I want to go to this school because I have never been in a place where I have felt more at home, where just having a five minute conversation with someone makes me want to open up a text book and learn absolutely EVERYTHING I possibly can. And that feeling, that constant need for growth paired with a sense of belonging, is something I feel I would only be able to get at your school

My plans, if I decided not to attend a four year, were to go to community college for two years so I could dedicate all of my time to Pure Nowhere, creating and putting into action a real business plan. After that, I would transfer into a four year if that’s where I felt I would learn and grow the most. But after learning everything I have learned throughout this college application process, that’s really not what I feel like would be best for me now.

Why should you care about all of this? Because if admitted, this degree wouldn’t just be for me, it would be for my co-owner, our readers, our team, everyone who’s ever sent an email our way. Everything I do is with Pure Nowhere and our family in mind, every new plan for my future is one that I make knowing that it wouldn’t just better myself, but everyone we’re connected to. Because we have the drive and dedication to make real change, and are willing to put in the time to make that happen.

I want this for them, for us, more than anything.

If you would give me the opportunity, I know I could live up to your expectations.

Thank you for giving me the chance to be a part of something bigger.