Today is May 1st, aka College Decision Day, which means that my college application process has finally come to an end! Back when I was writing my essays during the fall of last year, it felt like this time would never come, but now I can’t believe that time passed so quickly and that I’ll be graduating high school soon (albeit not in person, because of the shelter-in-place orders in my state).
I applied to almost twenty colleges, which in retrospect, might have been a few too many, because a) application fees alone were very expensive, averaging $70 USD a school, and b) applying to numerous schools meant that I had many, many essays to write. December is my favorite month of the year (winter + holiday + visiting family), but this year’s winter break was Essay Writing Time ™ thanks to my persistent procrastination. I think that I did a pretty decent job in balancing my application writing with spending time with my family, which at one point meant writing my Why Are You Applying to This College? application essay on the couch while my cousins played Mario Kart beside me. What was most effective was forcing my lazy self to wake up early and get some essay writing done before the day begun. I’m lucky to have a mom who was willing to help me with pointing out grammatical errors and attempting to cure me of my penchant for run-on sentences (I’m working on it, I promise!). Like many other seniors, I spent the entirety of January 1st and 2nd making final edits to my writing and finally, finally, submitting my applications, and then it was over!! Yet the waiting game had just begun.
I consciously tried to suppress any thoughts of college from that point on until March, when the admissions decisions would be released, and for the most part, this worked out great for me. There was always that niggling fear of “maybe I submitted the wrong essay” or “oh my god what if I spelled my name wrong,” but none of those errors could be remedied after the application was submitted, so I thought that it was better just to forget about it and live happily in blissful ignorance. 🙂 Of course, I had to make exceptions for college interviews, which all went over decently well. (I even had an interview virtually over Skype, and had to change my screen name to something a bit more professional than what my 11-year-old self had selected.)
Before I knew it, it was decision time! (And at the same time, the beginning of the quarantine in the US = the end of the school year.)
In the end, I amassed a large collection of rejection letters, which definitely hurt to receive at the time. But now I sometimes find myself reopening them just for fun, and feeling little to no lingering sadness when re-reading the dreaded “we regret to inform you” line. I think that I use them as a reminder towards myself that an admission committee’s decision based on who they think you are, based off of a brief résumé and a few-hundred-word essay, isn’t something that should affect your sense of self. Being admitted to a college when a classmate didn’t doesn’t indicate that you’re a better person, just as going to a “good” college doesn’t mean that you’re set for life. Getting into college is just the beginning of four years (or more!) of hard work, which is when your character development might truly occur. It’s cliché, but keep your chin up through it all! Once the dust settles, you’ll be okay.
Enough with the rambling: where will I be going next year? The most likely scenario is that I’ll be at home stuck to my laptop 24/7 “virtually learning,” snacking on far too many baked goods and writing more (pointless) blog articles. But I’m lucky to have been admitted to MIT, and hopefully I’ll be trading California’s perpetual sunshine for beautiful winters sometime soon. 🙂
Until next time!