College Acceptance: A Validation of Self-worth

UC Berkeley will release its decisions at the end of the month, on March 30th.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m stressed, that I’m hoping against hope for an acceptance. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was pretty torn up about getting rejected from Stanford, from UCLA. I’m not ashamed to admit that I care, on a deeply personal level.

I poured my heart out for my personal statements; I spent hours trying to force myself to memorize every formula I needed for the AP Calculus BC final; I made dozens of phone calls to ensure that my transcripts were being mailed out on time; I think about college day and night.

For me, and for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of others, applying to college is more than filling out a form and writing a few essays. It’s not even selling yourself; after all, universities are the ones charging.

It’s tearing yourself open and laying your heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears out on a table, and then chasing after colleges and paying them to glance over and give you a chance. It’s giving faceless admissions officers VIP passes to your vulnerabilities and failures, and hoping that they think you have the right ratio of human to perfect to send you that elusive acceptance letter.

So rejection hurts, and acceptance is a relief. Finally, you think. I’m good enough. But that’s only if you get accepted. Rejection is more than a bruise or a scrape or a minor issue; it’s consuming. Because a college rejection rejects you on a very personal level – they know your life stories, your struggles. And they still don’t want you. And maybe the most painful thing of all is that you were qualified – your GPA was high enough, as were your test scores. You had a glittering resume of extracurricular activities, and you had amazing time management, and you didn’t get in because this year, College X was looking for nationally competitive crocheters. Too many speech and debaters are already in the system, and you fall by the wayside.

At the end of March it’ll be over. And by May 1st, we’ll have committed to a school. But until then, we pray for acceptance.

Hopefully, eventually, we can accept ourselves as well, and measure our worth by our own metrics, not by the colleges we get into.

written for daily prompt: acceptance