Sunday, December 9, 2007

Life Without the Ivies?

Today’s the day.

My heart thumped like crazy, making blood rush through my veins. I waited for my mother to sort out the pile of letters which contains various bills, random advertisements, personal letters, and of course, the letter. The letter that’ll determine the rest of my future, my life.

She handed me the white envelope. With trembling hands I ripped the seal and slowly unveiled the folded letter. A few seconds of tense silence passed by; nobody talked, moved, even blinked.

“So, did you get in?” my mother hushed.

“No,” I replied.

As juniors in a fast paced high school program, it would not be long until we have to experience the same incident described in the story above. Around this time next year, all of us would be fluffing away in our college application essays, urging teachers to write recommendation letters (smelling any whiffs of ‘sucking up’, here?), frantically completing UCAS and/or registering for that SAT exam some of us keeps on delaying, or even looking up different universities online for the extreme procrastinators out there. After the college admission appeals are done and over with, what is left to do? The answer is none other than to wait for the reply, of course.

Every person will have different feelings towards these letters. As for me, I would pull strands of my hair out, scream out of fear/ fury/ nervousness/ depression/ excitement before I will have the courage to rip the envelope apart! I will probably be thinking, I have to get into this university – I didn’t spend all that time and efforts on IB and extracurricular activities for nothing! Indeed, it will be such a great shame and disappointment to me and my family if I didn’t go into supposedly good universities, namely those in the Ivy League. My father’s desire is for me to enter Cambridge University. I told him that it is impossible for me to even get considered there – bearing in mind that I failed mathematics last term. Nevertheless, he still wants me to try and get into Cambridge. I’m sure that I’ll get a rejection letter from Cambridge’s dean of admission, as well as other universities parallel to its ranking.

So what to do then, if we get a rejection letter from a university we want to attend so badly? While disappointment and even tears may be inevitable, we should not mourn for so long. The fact is, it is not the end of the world. There are other universities that will provide education just as excellent as that of the universities in the Ivy League and the like. Remember Steven Spielberg? The famous film schools at UCLA and USC rejected him, so he went to California State-Long Beach and made several student films there. I bet UCLA and USC now feels stupid for rejecting Steven Spielberg into their colleges. Think about your own situation. If you are an admirable hard worker who keeps on doing your best in everything, Harvard, Yale, or Princeton will envy the other schools that are going to get you!

I know that the things I’ve said above are definitely easier said than done. I’d still be very depressed and miserable if a college I really wanted to get into rejected me. But hopefully this blog will serve as a reminder that life WILL go on even through its letdowns and we should not beat ourselves up forever for it.

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