College Rejections Are Not the Apocalypse
At some time in our lives it happens: the inevitable rejection. It will happen in high school, in college and on the job. It will appear as a bad date, an ignored wave, a job loss, or a growl from a supposedly friendly dog. We can’t escape it. So, we must trudge on when it does happen.
But for some a rejection can be utterly devastating. Especially during the life-altering time of college applications. High school seniors put in all their effort and energy into first-choice college applications: college essays edited ten times, admissions interviews, hand-cramps from keyboarding applications, and annoyance from answering the same question over and over. All that time and effort and the end result can be an email stating you have been denied entrance.
“WHAT?! But I spent all this time and I met all the criteria needed to be accepted. How can they say no to me? THE WORLD MUST BE ENDING!” This is exactly how I felt when I received my first rejection. Yes, the truth is out and I will give you all the details.
My first-choice college was Lewis & Clark in Oregon. It is a small private school 20 minutes south of Portland. I went on a campus tour during April 2011 and absolutely fell in love with it. It was near a city, it was small, had the course of study I wanted, and was division III in swimming. It was made for me. I applied early action, an application where you know the results before the end of the calendar year. I was interviewed. I corresponded with the swim coach and the admissions officer. And I worked my hands and brain into mush from making the essay into the Singing Angel of all essays.
Two months later when I thought I had it in the bag, I received an email before winter break, “We write with genuine regret to inform you that we are not able to offer you a space in the Fall 2012 entering class.”
This was not the email I was expecting. I will be perfectly honest with you – I cried. I sobbed. I bawled. There were two oceans coming forth from my eyes and they stung. I had planned my future life based on attending Lewis & Clark. I thought, “If they won’t accept me, will any college? What will I do now? Can I still do what I dreamed? What I have planned and expected to do? Is this world even just?!” This answer is yes, maybe not fully to the last part, but yes, nonetheless.
We all do it when some blunder happens. You fall up the stairs and look around to make sure no one saw the most embarrassing thing ever. But you get up, walk away and joke about it with your friends later.
That is what we all must do when it comes to college rejections. It is not the Apocalypse. Your world will not come to a halting stop nor will your dreams and aspirations be destroyed. We can all dust ourselves off and climb back on that college-bound horse.
Just remember: there are thousands of colleges out there and more than one will fit you. Spread yourself out and apply somewhere else that you might not have otherwise. Life is hard, but if we know how to deal with the unexpected, then we can get the growling dog to give us a friendly little love bite. Good luck!
Other stories in Columns
- Are You Ready to Live a Vegetarian Lifestyle? - April 26, 2012
- Tricks of the Trade: Senioritis - April 23, 2012
- Hanging in the Balance: The Struggle in the High School Years - March 12, 2012
- America's Secret War - March 9, 2012
- For a Better Build, Play in Water - March 8, 2012