A little unsure, excited, and nervous all at one time–that is the feeling that sets into your stomach as you walk into the kitchen and see the mail waiting for you on the counter. Your name is carefully printed in black, the envelope tightly and perfectly sealed, patiently waiting to be opened. Inside that envelope holds an answer that will greatly impact your future. Whether it is from your dream school or a school you are highly considering, no one ever wants to open up a letter and see those few, soul-crushing words…
“We regret to inform you that we cannot…”
Those words sting just a little bit more than you thought they would. It’s hard: how are you supposed to prepare yourself for disappointment? Sure, you can have low expectations for actually getting in–or have it considered as your “reach” school–but that never seems to stop the reality from settling in and impacting you more than you anticipated. Not to mention, it doesn’t help when your family or friends start asking questions about whether you got in or not, because now you have to relive that sting each time by saying that you didn’t make the cut. Some might think this helps you to accept it on a different level, but it’s personally an easy feeling to dislike because your intention was not to have people pity you.
It’s about that time of year where you might have heard back from your schools or will be hearing back very soon. College is the next four years of your life and figuring out what schools you want to apply to is only the first step of an ongoing, often times stressful process. Yet, nothing seems to amount to the stress you feel waiting for an answer. Stress might not be the right word for it at times–anxious, probably, is more fitting. Anxious for the answer, anxious about the future, just plain anxious in general. But after this whole process, I’ve learned that maybe the school you thought you really wanted to go to might not be the right place for you (if you still think this once you start school, you could always transfer). Being anxious or stressed is okay; there are many other people who are feeling the exact same way and there are times when we get an answer we weren’t anticipating, but you can either learn from it or let it ruin you. How do you think you would have turned out if your older sibling didn’t beat you at those bike races down the street or if your parents always let you somehow win that game of Monopoly?
Things don’t always go your way in life (I’m saying this now and I’m only 17). There is no doubt going to be more times where we feel disappointed or let down, but decide to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and use the resources you have at our disposal. Don’t let not getting into a school define who you are as a person, whether that is academically, personally, or even socially.
Being told “No” can open the door for a lot of opportunities to being told “Yes.” College is a stressful but exciting time for all of us seniors who might not realize it yet. We are going to meet new lifelong friends, be exposed to new, interesting places, continue to learn more, and eventually find our way into society. Don’t let one institution who didn’t let you in hold you back from continuing on in a new chapter of your life with your fullest potential.