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I wrote this to show you all that it's entirely possible to be successful at a regular state college--and maybe even more successful than you would be at an elite school. I'm debt-free, my 4.0 is fully intact, and I'm okay with the fact that I don't go to an elite school. I don't need the satisfaction of telling someone that I attend somewhere like Vanderbilt or Rice because my accomplishments speak for themselves. An elite school is not going to make you a smarter, more successful person--that's on you, and you can find success anywhere if you try hard enough.
So, for those of you who can't afford your dream schools, don't fret! If you were smart enough to get accepted, then you're smart enough to succeed on your own.