Kiki Shahida ‘21
Warning to future seniors: as soon as someone hears you say you’re a senior in high school, they will demand answers about your college application experience. It seems everyone is dying to know where you’ve applied, where you’ve heard back from, or where you’re going next fall. You will undoubtedly develop a standard response to avoid further conversation, something along the lines of “Sorry, I’m not sure yet,” or, “Oh, I’m waiting on a few more schools.” I promise you, everyone you meet will want to know every detail, whether they’re your Great Aunt or your mailman. It gets annoying. It’s almost worth lying about your age and saying you’re still a junior, in which case your standard reply might be, “Yeah, junior year is really hard. No, I don’t sleep.”
Personally, I’m pretty open about my college application experience. I think at NCS specifically, we put too much pressure on ourselves and on each other, and some students try too hard to act top-secret when it comes to their college list. If someone asks me where I’ve gotten in, I’m okay with telling them; and if someone asks me where I’ve been rejected, I’m also okay with telling them. The reality of the college process is characterized by both acceptances and rejections, and in my opinion, no one should be bashful or ashamed of either.
So, in response to being bashful of your acceptances: If I tell a classmate that I just failed an assessment, and they excitedly tell me they aced the same assessment, I’m probably going to be bothered by their lack of bashfulness. However, I do not think this analogy applies to college admissions. If I tell a classmate that I was rejected from a college, and they tell me they got in, I should not feel annoyed. I should be happy for them. I think it’s definitely normal to be sort of upset in this situation, but this is where being the bigger person and celebrating your classmate’s achievement really matters.
As for being ashamed of rejections, I know college rejections don’t feel good. They suck. Luckily, no one is alone in being disappointed by a rejection. Rejections (unfortunately) happen to everyone. And rejections do not reflect your intelligence or your character—I swear—the whole college process is a crapshoot. Someone with a lower GPA and lower test score might have been accepted to a “better” college than you. Or, someone might have been rejected from the school that their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents all attended. There is a point between pressing “submit” on your Common App and pressing “open” on your college portal at which you have zero control. Despite how much it truly does suck, I don’t think it’s fair to take out one’s disappointment on others and use it to diminish their success.
I’m not really an “everything happens for a reason” type of person, but I do believe in this sentiment when it comes to the college process. I know many college students who are grateful to have been rejected from their Early Decisions, as they otherwise wouldn’t have ended up at the schools they love today. Plus, (seniors, you’re probably exhausted of hearing this) you can make any school the perfect school for you, even if it wasn’t the school you initially saw yourself attending.
By senior year, we’ve all pushed ourselves more than we might have thought possible four years ago. We’ve worked in the library for millions of hours, met with AP science teachers during every free moment, and cried gallons of tears over English essays and Foner’s yellow textbook. No matter where we end up in the future, all of us have worked incredibly hard to get through high school at NCS. So, when we do finally accept an offer to spend the next four years of our lives off of the Close, we absolutely deserve to celebrate.
This is why I am for-posting about college acceptances. I think we should each feel proud to show-off our successes (within reason) and should try to support other’s successes even if we must temporarily swallow our pride. We will all end up at amazing schools, and we have all worked incredibly hard to get there. So, why not post a ridiculously decorated Instagram story?