“Did you get in?” ..
“Oh, I’m sorry.” ..
“What’s your second choice?”
Throughout the whole college app process I tried not to have play favorites. From the beginning I noticed I was thinking a bit differently than most of my classmates. I approached finding a college based on location (Pacific Northwest) and applied to as many as I could using the common app. Then letters came back.. soon I found myself leaning towards one particular school.. I did the math.. I couldn’t accept the invitation due to lack of financial funds. I’d raked in some outside scholarships and still found myself struggling to devise a plan to help pay for school. but in the end Whitman offered the most help and I accepted even though throughout the process it had kind of slipped under my radar of potential schools; not that I didn’t consider, I was just surprised it was a choice. The day I sent back the invitations was a very bittersweet day. I spent a lot of time thinking about reconsiderations regarding financial aid and wrote letters back to schools asking to reconsider my family contribution with a financial spreadsheet of the monthly family budget. Some schools adjusted the aid a bit, others replied that any more aid was outside of the school budget and couldn’t be granted. Among those schools was my original first choice. So, again, I sent back thank you for the reconsideration letters. I felt short-changed. (no pun intended (haha)) It had never occurred to me that I might be sad after reaching the end of the tunnel.
Then I started planning. After receiving the orientation packets and free swag, I strutted around my room knowing that no matter what, I was in college. My roommate and I, (she was coping with a rejection at the time too), jumped all over the room with the excitement of a new chapter opening in a place we didn’t expect. She would google random facts about my college town and I googled hers and we tried to describe the vibe. She was a big part of my acceptance of what happened and helped me moved past the disappointment I felt. With each other, we turned the perspective around into something similar to a scavenger hunt or guessing game–making fun out of the unknown.
The disappointment is real. It’s tangible after having a perfect vision shutdown. But don’t let it be the end of a vision. Re-imagine and re-assess the possibilities, because really anything could happen in the new shift of expectations. Lean on those around you to help conjure up the new vision. Act like a tourist looking at the city. Every place has it’s gem and if you find yourself lost in the cave, start a new direction cause any direction will work as long as you can picture the happiness you’ll feel when you finally stumble out.