It's Beginning to Feel A lot Like....College App Szn
For most, December is a month filled with holiday cheer, Christmas spirit, the warmth of hot chocolate, the comfort of a fuzzy blanket. For seniors in high school, however, December has come to hold a whole other meaning. Especially for those applying Early Decision, December can feel like a so-called “Judgement Month,” one that will forever alter the course of their lives. I am writing this post to remind both myself and my fellow peers that although this decision seems like the “end-all-be-all,” it’s not.
It is now, more than ever, where it can be easy to forget that numbers don’t define us. Colleges judge us based on our stats, our standardized test scores, our GPA, our class rank. Peers (as shown by recent, unfortunate events) judge us based on our stats, our standardized test scores, our GPA, our class rank. And in turn, we start to judge ourselves based only on these numbers too. These ultimately and relatively insignificant numbers.
To all the seniors in the midst of the college application process: You are more than an SAT score. You are more than the mere sheet of paper you are evaluated by. You are far more than anyone, let alone admissions officers, can ever fully know. You are immeasurable. Your character, your ability to bring out the best in those around you, and your passion for creating meaningful change are qualities that can never be reduced to mere scores on a scale. The decision that will soon come your way, whether good or bad, exciting or disappointing, is neither a rejection, acceptance, or deferral of you as a person.
I’m not going to lie….if I get rejected, even though I know it doesn’t make me any less worthy or any less qualified to accomplish small, great things, I will still be devastated. As anyone would. But, the more we must keep telling ourselves that our value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s blindness to our worth, the easier it will be for us to recalibrate. Because in the end, self-worth is fueled by one thing & one thing only: thinking you are worthy.
Throughout life, we will inevitably face obstacles. We will face rejection. We will face failure. We will face days where our will to persevere vanishes to a microscopic molecule. It will always be easier to give up than keep beating ceaselessly against the current. But it will always be infinitely more worthwhile to fight when you thought there was no fight left in you. The depth of your strength can surprise you.
So, to my peers who are accepted to their dream schools: Congratulations! I am so happy for you. Your hard work and dedication have finally paid off. Use this increased confidence to be the best version of yourself. Face the next four years with the commitment to use this amazing opportunity to do good, to inspire change, to create innovation.
To my peers who are denied admission to their top choices: Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. I know you are disappointed, understandably so, but this decision is not the defining moment of your life. You are still as deserving, as worthy, as valuable as everyone else. Although you were rejected from something good, you will be diverted towards something better. Just because one door closes doesn’t mean all the doors have closed. In fact, this rejection is an opportunity….It is an opportunity to walk through a beautiful door you otherwise never would have opened. It is an opportunity to take a different, unexpectedly beautiful path. It is an opportunity to create the most out of what is made available to you, to find your own opportunities in unforeseen places.
And in the end, the acceptance that matters most is self-acceptance.