Monday, December 14th 2015
It’s that time of year. No, not Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza. It’s the time of year when many high school seniors put their fate in the college admissions officers. It’s that time when you think your future is determined (although as you’ll learn later in life, that’s not true!).
Kids will remember this time in their life as a pivotal one. I remember it from eleven years ago. Back then most of the letters came in an actual envelope, and not through my inbox. If the letter was small and thin, it was a rejection, deferral or maybe a wait-list. If it was big and thick, I was one of the lucky ones that could cruise through the rest of my senior year having been accepted somewhere either early decision or early action.
Back then, yes, it was a huge deal. My friends would leave school early to see if something had arrived in their mailbox at home. Some people (not me) celebrated, and others cried because they thought they were seen as failures. Although I didn’t cry, I was disappointed in myself. How could I have gotten deferred from this school? What did the other applicants have that I didn’t? If they could just meet me, maybe I could charm my way in.
Jamie Spelling from My Digital Daughter wrote a post called The Day I Got Deferred. She talks about how many of us feel when we do get that deference or rejection letter. We begin to question our self-worth and ask ourselves, “why me?!”
Jamie assures us that “it is okay when your initial confident reaction begins to falter.” But she also goes on to tell us, which I 100% agree with, that this one single decision does not define us. Getting into one single college will not make or break us. There is a school out there for everyone. So what if it’s not that #1 reach school from your list? You will be okay. It may take time. For me, when I received the acceptance letter to my second choice school a few months later, I stopped doubting myself.
While the process can be harsh, and this may be the first time students experience any real form of rejection, everything in life is a lesson that builds resilience. Remember your summer family whom you can turn to no matter what, for consoling and confidence. Like Jamie, “I know who I am. I know what I have accomplished. Most importantly, I know what I deserve. I know I am fine. I know we will all be fine.”