Voyage of a lifetime

Senior reflects on not getting into the college of her choice


Illustration by Tristan Wise

Student discovers the ups and downs of life through college rejection.

…So you didn’t get into your college of choice. The college you hoped and dreamed of getting into during your high school career left you with a rejection, and no real explanation. Even though you spent countless hours perfecting your application and refining every detail, and you were sure at this point they couldn’t reject you, they did.

I’m on the same boat. This isn’t a cruise ship or even a nice boat… This is a tattered one, that’s barely held together by cheap nails and scraps of wood. With the waters closing in on me, I was not looking forward to the rest of the journey.

Then I realized, this was the first step of the real world: rejection. Yes, I invested hours in my application. Yes, I was only one student away from receiving automatic admission and yes, it’s not fair. It’s not fair because a college was able to judge me and deem me unworthy of attending their university after one quick glance at the numbers on my transcript and my SAT scores. It’s not fair because I have worked long and hard hours to make my grades the best they can be. It’s not fair, and I understand that. I’m also starting to understand life’s not fair. And sometimes, things won’t go the way I want them to.

As decisions are released this month, I’m seeing my friends who once confronted life with an unstoppable and fearless attitude doubt their worth, just because a college sent them a rejection letter. From personal experience, since I’m on the same boat, I know that step one of overcoming these feelings of rejection is throwing that letter in the ocean. I had to accept that even though I didn’t get in where I wanted to be, I would end up where I’m supposed to be. Even though this boat was made out of scraps of wood and old nails, this was the boat I would spend the next four years in, and now it’s time to make the best of it. It’s also time to realize that it’s not about the quality of the boat, but it’s about the journey. It’s about the waves, and the currents and the detours along the way, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Some days won’t be easy. Some days I’ll scroll through pictures on my news feed and wonder what could have been if I would have aced one more test, or taken one more SAT practice course. Some days I’ll doubt my worth.

Those days, though, would exist no matter what university I chose to attend. Even though it seems like not getting accepted to the university of choice is the worst possible news to receive, I promise, it’s not the end of the world.

The boat will keep moving, the water will keep flowing and the waves will eventually calm down. It’s what you make of it. Take a deep breath, pack supplies and get ready for the journey, because these four years will be some of the best.