I want to first apologize to everyone who is reading this off of a screenshot on my Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat story right now because I know that this is a subject that a lot of us feel suffocated by even at the mere thought of it. But if I just described exactly how you're feeling right now in the previous sentence right there, then I'd encourage you to read the rest of what I'd like to say.
For starters, I want to just make it clear that this article isn't just one that's dedicated to you my peers out there, but it's also something that I'm writing for myself for future references, because right now I am just as every bit as nervous and as excited and as completely terrified as all of you.
If you're reading this for fun right now with hardly a care in the world because you've already gotten into the school of your dreams, then I really, really envy you, you beautiful, smart, hardworking, intelligent, deserving-individual you! I hope you continue to stay amazing and thrive! Rock it at that dream school and go live out your best life!
And if you're reading this right now and you're in complete confusion as to why someone would care so much about something that might not even have all that much of an effect on the rest of your life ("college? it's not even that big of a deal!"), then I'd like to say that I also really, really envy you, and I really, really wish that I could have that kind of mindset too. Because for all I know, you're probably right. There are more "Harvard vs. Community College" articles and Youtube videos out there to count, with every single one of them pointing to why community college is a much more viable (and affordable) option. How much of a difference can going to one college vs. another really make?
I grew up (I am growing up) in a community where everything is so "college-centric," in a community where going to crazy-expensive test prep schools and tutoring classes is a norm, where we pile on extracurriculars and run as student officers just for the sake of putting it on paper. It's a community where students admitted to the Ivy-League, the shining stars of all those dinner parties, are bombarded by all the aunties and uncles and friends and neighbors for their course schedules and their SAT scores, a community where grades and AP classes matter more towards social status at school than being on the cheer squad.
It's almost as if that in the midst our parents' quests to prove that their child is above all other children, they've lost sight of what college is really about, and it's almost as if in our quest to prove that we are just as "capable" and "valuable" as our peers, that we, the students, have lost sight of it too.
This whole "college-centric" mindset is such a toxic, stressful way of thinking and living. Go somewhere that really, really wants you! Somewhere where they think (and where YOU think) you'll really be able to thrive and learn and live! Forget needing to live up to your parents' or society's or (scariest of all) your own temporary expectations. You're going to college (whichever college you may end up choosing) to grow and to be the most educated version of you that there is out there, not for some temporary flexing rights.
And if this article didn't seem to hit home, and you're the kind of person who really does, in fact, want to go to a certain dream school because you really do believe that the quality of education will be marginally better than whatever second options you have, then here, perhaps this will help?
There was a meme that I remember very clearly from back when I was kind of a K-pop groupie. It was a tweet that Wiz Khalifa had posted after performing solo at an awards show when he was originally supposed to perform together with Girl's Generation's Taeyeon that went like this:
The whole situation ended up just being a misunderstanding, but the phrase "never accept rejection as failure" was seen floating around in the K-pop community for quite a long time after that. Of course, Wiz probably wasn't thinking of university applicants when he said it, but the same phrase can apply in this situation as well. Rejection is just the effect of one person's (or in this case, a small committee's) decision. No one out there will ever be able to satisfy everyone, so it's important to remember to not take a single decision made by a couple of strangers out there as a value of your self-worth, and that's something that parents and those other high-tier-university-praising adults should remember too.
So just breathe. And breathe. And breathe again. And keep breathing because the sun will still rise the next day no matter what that letter says. Whatever happens, I hope you end up at a school that you really, really love—even if it's one of those love stories that need a lot of build-up (but that's okay too, because those happen to be some of the cutest ones.)
Good luck with everything!